Experts Weigh In On Managing Soybean Insects

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

When it comes to insect pest management in soybeans, the only certainty is that without the proper understanding of pest dynamics and best management strategies, the risk of crop damage and yield loss increases substantially. This was the subject of CropLife Media Group’s recent webinar, “Soybean Insects: Managing The Shifting Pest Dynamics,” presented by Dr. B. Rogers Leonard, professor of entomology, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, and Dr. Jim Johnson, technical support representative, Syngenta Crop Protection.

Improving Management Strategies

Over the last decade, there have been several factors that have caused the soybean pest complex to change, said Leonard during the Syngenta-sponsored webinar. Changes to pest diversity, populations and soybean production/IPM strategies within ag landscapes have contributed to a shifting pest dynamic.

An agricultural landscape, or farmscape, involves the interaction of all crops/plants across a farm/production region that may impact insect pests attacking soybeans, Leonard said.

“We need to begin thinking about farm regions rather than individual fields,” he said. “We have to take into consideration these farmscape interactions both on and around all farms.”

Some factors affecting the shifting pest dynamics include the large scale removal of cropland, agronomic practices such as conservation tillage programs and multi-cropping.

In addition, it is important to be aware of potential effects from field borders, such as ditch banks, river systems, CRP-WRP land and pastures, Leonard said.

“These areas are providing alternate hosts that serve to produce insects,” he said. “It is difficult to apply chemical control strategies that have any persistence if there is a continuous immigration of pests from a nontreated refuge immediately adjacent to the crop field.”

Weed resistance and herbicide use strategies can also impact the input costs for insect control, Leonard said.

“Weeds such as marestail, Italian ryegrass, pigweed and waterhemp are becoming in-field refuges for insect pests because they are not being effectively controlled,” he said. “If we can apply the proper weed control strategies we can perhaps save input costs on managing insects later in the season.”

Leonard said there are several ways growers and dealers can improve their management strategies. They include establishing large blocks of consistent acreage for a single crop, using insecticide seed treatments, modifying sampling protocols, considering co-application of products to manage multiple species and eliminating alternate hosts in advance of seeding the crop.

3 Invasive Species

During a recent Webinar with the CropLife Media Group, Dr. B. Rogers Leonard, professor of entomology at Louisiana State University, said there are at least three invasive insect species that are currently moving across the U.S.:

Redbanded stink bug. A consistent, difficult-to-control pest across the entire Gulf south, ranging from Texas to Missouri and back to Alabama.

Bean plataspid. Has moved from Georgia and Alabama up north to the Carolinas.

Brown marmorated stink bug. A pest that has moved from the Central Atlantic states into soybean production areas in the Midwest.

Soybean Insect Control Tools

During the webinar, Dr. Johnson reviewed insect control tools that Syngenta offers: Warrior II/Karate with Zeon technology and Endigo ZC.

The active ingredient in Warrior II /Karate, lambda-cyhalothrin, offers a number of benefits, including extended residual activity at low use rates, broad spectrum control, longer suppression of secondary pest populations and a 30-day preharvest interval. Zeon technology provides Warrior II /Karate with a water-based formulation in a thin polymer capsule, Johnson said, which contain a UV protectant, adhere strongly to plant surfaces, offer fast pest knockdown and reduce handler and applicator exposure by placing a barrier around the active ingredient.

Johnson also discussed a newer insecticide from Syngenta, Endigo ZC. Formulated as a premix, Endigo ZC contains the active ingredients lambda-cyhalothrin and thiamethoxam.

“Endigo ZC is an effective rotation product for insect resistance management because it delivers two modes of action from full labeled rates of two highly effective active ingredients,” Johnson said.

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