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EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 31 cereal output this year and attribute these precipitous declines primarily to the ban. At the EU country-level weve witnessed severe crop damage Germany has experienced a six per cent decline of OSR growing area. Ninety per cent of OSR damaged and 30 per cent of the 1.309 million hectares was seen to suffer from severe flea beetle attack. A lot more insecticide sprays now. Theres also confirmed increase in resistance issues towards pyrethroid insecticides. In the UK 38000 ha were not planted due to lack of crop protection products. In total yield of OSR in the UK decreased by 60000 ha or 10 per cent primarily due to flea beetle. Foliar insecticide spraying increased four- fold reaching 100 per cent treated area in parts of the east and southeast. And in Sweden the area of spring oil- seed rape significantly decreased 54000 ha 2013 - 14700 ha 2014 - 6000 ha 2015 90 per cent reduction. Increase in number of sprays from 2 per ha to 5.5 sprays per ha. Beyond the EU in May 2015 U.S. President Barack Obamas administration published its National Pollinator Strategy which clearly argues that there are multiple factors impact- ing bee health rather than just one. Thus far the U.S. government along with virtually all other major governments around the world have continued to support the use of neonicotinoid pesticide seed treatment technology which remains one of the most innovative and envi- ronmentally friendly forms of crop protection. In Australia neonicotinoid-based seed treatments are used widely but there have been no reports of significant declines in the health of bees. Following the Australian governments thorough scientific review this class of chemis- try has again been granted a clean bill of health. POSITIVE NEWS FOR POLLINATORS The argument of these stakeholders that pes- ticides are not to blame has been reinforced by the publication of new evidence over the past 12 months or so which shows that bee populations particularly honeybees are actu- ally more resilient and in better shape than initially thought. Last year a new model for assessing the health of bee colonies1 developed by Rothamsted Research and BBSRC was pub- lished in the Journal of Applied Ecology. The BEEHAVE model shows that honeybee colo- nies are much more resilient than previously assumed and that access to food is the key factor in their health. At its bee health conference in Brussels in April 2014 the European Commission also conceded that the decline in honey bee health had not been as dramatic as initially thought. It based this conclusion on the results of Epilobee the first comprehensive study of bee health in Europe 2 . This has since been rein- forced by the COLOSS official monitoring pro- ject which has shown that rates of honeybee bee mortality in the critical over-wintering period are now at the lowest level since they started their research in 2007. What is par- ticularly interesting is that this research also coincided with the last seasons in which neon- icotinoid seed treatments were widely used in the EU. A report in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry reviewed bee health over multiple years and reached a similar con- clusion as well as suggesting that bee mortality rates appeared to be higher in those north- ern parts of Europe where insecticide use was actually lowest. RENEWED CALLS FOR A COMPLETE BAN In contrast there continues to be a significant amount of media interest in publications which present an alternative view that neonicoti- noids are responsible for the decline in bee health and present a broader threat to the environment. Indeed having appeared to have lost the argument on honeybee health recent publications from anti-pesticide activist groups have tended to concentrate on bumblebees and solitary bees. This is an easy target because far less is known about these populations and what if anything is impacting their health. In short these groups have conveniently changed the narrative a tacit admission that there was no bee-pocalypse in the first place. It is possible that some of these publica- tions have been deliberately timed to counter the more positive evidence that has emerged on neonicotinoids. Certainly the publication of the IUCN Task Force on Systemic Pesticides last year which claimed that the impact of neonicotinoids was the same as DDT appeared rushed and reads more like a political tract than a robust scientific inquiry. At their press conference in Brussels the Task Force failed to present the evidence on which their conclusions were based. Although they claimed to have reviewed more than 800 papers as part of the literature review they were unable to provide a list of these papers or to explain why more positive evidence on neon- icotinoids had been rejected and on what basis. Unfortunately bad news in the press con- tinues to sell more advertising and raise more money for activist groups but it is important to keep in mind that these publications are being made as part of a concerted effort by individuals and groups who are well known for their commitment to restrict and ban neonico- tinoid pesticide technology. This well-funded sensationalist campaign is global in scope and should not be underestimated. Indeed when Syngentas experts in prod- uct safety along with others in the academic and government sectors are able to exam- ine the publications in detail they invariably found that the studies concentrate on hazard present very little or no new evidence and are therefore speculative. Moreover these studies ignore the various risk management 1 BEEHAVE a systems model of honeybee colony dynamics and foraging to explore multifactorial causes of colony failure Journal of Applied Ecology Volume 51 Issue 2 Article first published online 4 MAR 2014 doi 10.11111365-2664.12222 2 A pan-European epidemiological study on honeybee colony losses httpec.europa.eufoodanimalslive_animalsbeesdocsbee-report_en.pdf CONFUSED ABOUT IP AND ITS MANAGEMENT We can tailor an IP workshop to engage your executives to focus solely on Intellectual Property and its management. While our industry thrives on technical innovation it remains commercially traditional. We can help you unlock creative ideas and explore alternative approaches best suited to your market environment. Chris Green T 44 07540 706247 E In short these groups have conveniently changed the narrative a tacit admission that there was no bee-pocalypse in the first place.