Soybean Research Principal Investigator Profile – Wayne Hudson

Wayne Hudson, entomologist, Phillip Alampi Beneficial Insect Laboratory, New Jersey Department of Agriculture

Why did you decide to pursue a career that includes soybean research?
I first got involved in soybeans in 1986 as an intern for the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, working on the Mexican bean beetle control program. Farmers were happy to see me, because they needed a solution for the pest. I enjoyed the work because I could see the results of my efforts. I jumped at the opportunity for a full-time job when it became available and worked my way up to being an entomologist, leading the program I once interned for.

What research topic have you completed in the past or are working on now that could have or has had the most significant impact on soybean production?
Using beneficial insects to control the Mexican bean beetle means that today’s soybean farmers don’t remember how bad the pest was in the 1980s. The program continues to protect soybean yields and save farmers insecticide and application costs and time.

How has the soybean checkoff enhanced your ability to find answers to production problems for farmers?
When a biological aid for Mexican bean beetle first became available, the soy checkoff helped us get the program started. Now, the checkoff allows us to monitor soybean fields to do a timed release of parasitic wasps so that this pest doesn’t become a problem in New Jersey soybean fields. 

Within your area of expertise, what are the top two or three general recommendations you would offer farmers to improve their management practices?
As part of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, I don’t offer recommendations. I refer farmers to their local extension for crop management support.

Within your area of expertise, what do you consider to be critical soybean research needs that can impact the profitability of famers in the future?
I am partial to the value of biological control for pests, including insects and weeds. I think farmers need research into biological control for challenges like Palmer amaranth and other problems. Developing biological controls can take a lot of time, but they allow farmers to augment their chemical control programs.

SRIN articles:

Preventing Mexican Bean Beetle Outbreaks