Innovative biological pest control of the western corn rootworm (WCR) Diabrotica virgifera virgifera and wireworms Agriotes spp. in maize and potato cultivation in Europe is driven by (1) the economic damages caused and (2) the restrictions on chemical pesticides. We analyze the efficacy of biological control agents for WCR and wireworms based on European field trails. A partial equilibrium displacement model is used to estimate the changes in producer and consumer surplus for France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria and Romania given different adoption ceiling and adoption speed. Furthermore, the benefit of a potential reduction in pesticide use due to biological control application is evaluated. The results suggest a total annual welfare gain of ca. €190 million from biocontrol of WCR in maize production for the countries under consideration at an adoption ceiling and adoption speed of 30% and 2.41, respectively. In potato production, an annual welfare gain of over €2 million may be recorded in ecological and/or organic cultivation. Overall, the biological control methods provide an economical alternative in maize and can contribute to increase the competitiveness of European Union (EU) agriculture, while they look promising for certified organic potato production at the current level of control efficiency.
- Biological control agents
- Diabrotica virgifera virgifera
- Integrated pest management (IPM)
- Socioeconomic welfare gain
- Wireworms Agriotes spp