Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station ART, CH-8356 Ettenhausen

Sustainability assessment of insecticides in Swiss grain and potato production

As part of the Proof of Ecological Performance (PEP), Switzerland requires special permits to be obtained for the use in cereals and potato production of authorised insecticides which have a potential to impact beneficial arthropods. In order to test the impact of this PEP requirement, a reference variant illustrating the current PEP requirements was compared with other insecticide variants. For this purpose, a sustainability assessment taking account of ecotoxicological risks and economic viability in addition preservation of beneficials was performed according to the «SustainOS» methodology. The results show that the one-off use of Audienz (spinosad) against cereal-leaf beetle would significantly improve sustainability vis-à-vis the reference (Nomolt [teflubenzuron] plus Biscaya [thiacloprid]). In the case of Colorado beetle, however, where Audienz is considered the reference, no alternative which would exhibit better sustainability could be found. Furthermore, the study shows that variants with Novodor (Bacillus thuringiensis) are friendly to beneficials, but pose an increased risk to yield and incur higher costs. Consequently, it can be recommended that the PEP requirements with respect to Colorado beetle be retained and adapted for cereal-leaf beetle.

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