Soybean Insect Management: Everything But the Kitchen Sink
|Kevin L. Steffey
Professor and Extension
Department of Crop Sciences
Invasive insect species pose a continuous threat to U.S. agriculture. Although the arrival of a significant agricultural pest in the U.S. is unwelcome, a positive outcome is that research and educational forces are marshaled against the threat. Such has been the case with research and educational activities focused on management of soybean aphids since its discovery in 2000. Entomologists throughout the Midwest have cooperated and continue to cooperate on numerous efforts to improve our understanding of the soybean aphid’s biology and ecology and to expand and refine the options for its management. Much of this cooperative effort has been generously supported by funding provided by state soybean associations, including the Illinois Soybean Association, and the North Central Soybean Research Program.
In last year’s (2006) Agronomy Day abstract, I wrote: “Ultimately, the combined research efforts of entomologists throughout the Midwest should result in a comprehensive, multi-tactic, and effective program of soybean aphid management with minimal impacts in the environment.” This statement seems to ring more true as each year passes. Numerous cooperative educational and research efforts were continued or initiated in 2007, and the potential for measurable impact from these efforts is significant.
Following is a partial list of educational and research activities that have focused on soybean aphids and their management in 2007:
(photo courtesy of Gary Bretthauer)
- Managing Soybean Aphids in 2007: How Will Biological Control Contribute? A short course delivered via distance education technology to 350 people in 12 states and two Canadian provinces.
- Second year of weekly surveys of commercial soybean fields to correlate in-field densities of soybean aphids with captures of soybean aphids in suction traps in the fall, with expectations for improving our ability to predict outbreaks.
- Second year of assessing the efficacy of soybean varieties with putative resistance to soybean aphids.
- First year of a focused assessment of the interaction of soybean aphid-resistant varieties, natural enemies, seed-applied insecticides, and foliar insecticides.
- Sixth year of assessment of the efficacy of foliar insecticides to control soybean aphids, with their effects on yield.
- First year of a release of a parasitoid, Binodoxys communis, imported from China. The release was approved by USDAAPHIS and occurred simultaneously in several states.
- First year of a research project to assess the impact of foliar- and seed-applied insecticides and fungicides on several insect pests and plant pathogens and on soybean yield.
- First year of a research project to validate a method of sub-sampling for soybean aphids that would make scouting and research efforts more efficient.
- Publication of an educational brochure, Identification of Soybean Aphid and Look-alike Species.
Results from research efforts in 2007, if relevant, will be discussed, with emphasis on the potential benefits that will accrue from these efforts. We express our thanks to the Illinois Soybean Association and the North Central Soybean Research Program for their continued support of our research and educational efforts.