Soybean Fields Fertile Ground for Bug Control
A widely used food staple, soybeans provide a nutritious food source to more than just humans. A huge variety of bugs go after the plant, and as conditions change due to weather and bug resistance, researchers have to go farther afield to protect them.
At Louisiana State University, the Agricultural program has its hands full monitoring soybean crops for how effective current pest management approaches are. Teams of agricultural researchers are studying how well various integrated pest management approaches work. By comparing past pest control methods with new ones, they hope to find the best way to keep the bugs away.
Part of pest control is insecticides, and another part of an integrated program is using other bugs to prey on plant-eating insects. In addition, every season brings a slightly different type of bug into contact with soybeans. Last year, red and black banded stinkbugs proliferated, while this year it’s the green and brown kinds.
Insects also develop resistance to insecticides, but the level of resistance can change. Researchers work closely with farmers to determine how much pesticide needs to be used to optimize growth and minimize economic harm.