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Research Highlights

Research Highlights
Soybean Insect Survey

By Fred Musser, Mississippi State University

Pest insects damage soybean crops and decrease yields annually, but the amount of loss varies. Documenting where and how frequently insects cause loss can aid in prioritizing research objectives and optimizing risk management decisions. University entomologists are knowledgeable and unbiased experts in insect losses on a statewide basis. An annual compilation of their professional opinions provides an imperfect, but practical, objective assessment of soybean insect impacts. 

  1. In this $5,000 project, soybean loss estimates in 2018 were compiled from 17 states, representing about 40% of U.S. soybean acreage. The data was published in Mid-south Entomologist and is publicly available at http://midsouthentomologist.org.msstate.edu/pdfs/Vol12_1/ME19-001.pdf. Primary pests varied regionally, but overall stink bugs and corn earworm accounted for more than 50% of all insect costs in foliar sprays and lost yield. 

    Over time, annual compilations will permit assessing shifts in management and/or insect pressure, possibly as a result of research or external factors (climate change, economics, etc.).
  2. The information provided by this compilation will allow both growers and researchers to make decisions that impact insect management with a more accurate assessment of the current and historical situation than previously possible.

Figure 1. Most costly soybean insects in surveyed states during 2018.

To find research related to this Research Highlight, please visit the National Soybean Checkoff Research Database.