IIRB Workshop 2019 'Growing sugar beet without neonicotinoid seed treatment'

08/03/2019, Faculty Club Leuven

With the ban of neonicotinoids in the European sugar beet crop, and a limited perspective of derogations in the different countries, the sugar beet sector must find alternatives to neonicotinoid pest control. This concerns the control of virus-transmitting aphids that cause significant economic losses in certain sugar beet regions, but also the control of wireworms, leatherjackets, pygmy beetles and other pests. 

Reverting to previously used pesticides may be critical as ecological side-effects of spraying are expected to be higher. Additionally, some relevant insect pests have become resistant to several active ingredients.

The IIRB workshop, attended by about 90 persons, aimed at initiating a broad discussion on alternatives to neonicotinoid pest control in sugar beet. Speakers highlighted alternative approaches like crop management, antagonists and the use of beneficial insects, push and pull-techniques, and prevention and presented possibilities of resistance breeding as well as chemical alternatives.

The audience and speakers included researchers from the sugar beet sector and universities, representatives of plant protection and breeding companies and sugar industry representatives.