Farmers gain billions of dollars in value from neonicotinoid insecticides and would have to resort to using greater amounts of older, less effective chemicals if the products were banned, according to a new study published last week.

The study by independent agricultural economists and scientists with AgInfomatics is a counterpunch to a recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report concluding that neonicotinoid, or neonic, seed treatments provide negligible benefits in soybeans.

"We don’t think (the EPA re­­port) reflects the American farmer’s experience," said Brad May, strategic business lead for Bayer CropScience SeedGrowth.

Neonic seed treatments, which include brands like Cruiser and Poncho, control above- and below-ground insect feeding in soybeans and provide more targeted control than foliar sprays, May said.

Benefits for farmers

"We believe...