With the improvement of soybean genetics and commodity prices, odds are you’re producing more soybeans — and on better ground — than you did 10 years ago. This increased profit potential brings with it a new agronomic challenge related to crop rotation.
Crop Rotation Less Effective at Pest Management
Traditional crop rotation practices typically benefit your fields by mixing up soil composition and helping balance soil nutrients from year-to-year. In most cases, this crop rotation also helps vary the insect profile from year to year.
Of course, the stink bug found a way to make itself an exception. One of the most damaging insect pests to cotton, the stink bug can be as damaging to soybeans. This means the practice of crop rotation is less effective at managing stink bugs as it is with other pests and other crop rotations.
Cotton bollworm and corn earworm are two more pests that are not controlled with a cotton-soybean rotation, as the two worms are, in fact, the same pest — Helicoverpa zea.
3 Pests Responsible for 70% of Insect-Related Soybean Losses
Land grant universities in Mississippi, Louisiana, Virginia, Arkansas, Alabama, North Carolina and Tennessee develop an annual report about the effect of insects in soybeans. The 2013 report found stink bugs are the most damaging insect in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia. Across all states in the study, stink bugs are responsible for an increasing proportion of soybean yield insect losses. Perhaps most important, stink bugs and corn earworm combined with soybean looper to account for more than 70 percent of all insect-related soybean costs and losses in these states in 2013.
Managing Soybean Pests
So what’s the best way to manage these pests in soybeans? Many agronomists and researchers recommend a two-application approach in soybeans.
A second pass during the soybean reproductive stage can control stinkbugs. Leverage® 360 insecticide is a common choice for this second pass. In addition to insect control, it can be tankmixed with a fungicide to provide you with disease and insect control in one pass.
Another option for pest control in soybeans or cotton includes an application of Baythroid® XL insecticide. After a brief absence from retailer and distributor inventories, it is available again this season.