New products fight problem pests found in late-season beans

With the advent of late-season soybeans, growers in recent years have been able to flexibly modify their planting schedules in response to harsh weather conditions and other factors at planting season.

One phenomenon that has developed as a result of this “plant later, harvest later” growing season, however, is the expansion of pests — such as the redbanded stinkbug, corn earworm, late-season soybean looper and other yield-robbing insects — into Mid-South soybean fields.

Key Points

• Later planting of soybeans is becoming common.

• Later planting has led to a boom in insect populations.

• The ag chemical industry has made new products available for treatment.

Angus Catchot, Mississippi State University Extension entomologist, says many such insects have begun migrating to the Mid-South as late-season beans have become more and more common.

“Over the last couple of years, we’ve been planting a little later in the season, and we’ve planted a few more group IV’s in order to spread the harvest with other crops such as corn and rice,” explains Catchot. “The price of soybeans has also made it attractive to double-crop more soybeans behind wheat. What this does is put soybeans in that late-season window that exposes the crop to these late-season insects that we would ordinarily miss due to early plantings.”

A buffet of soybeans

According to Catchot, insects such as the soybean loopers, which originate in Southern latitudes, migrate north each year to cash in on this previously unavailable buffet of soybeans.

Until recent years, when growers began planting a few more later-maturing varieties of soybeans, they would generally miss the late-season buildup of insect pests such as soybean loopers and stinkbugs on their planted acreage.

Traditional varieties of soybeans are typically planted and harvested before the late-season spike in the populations of these pesky insects, and before they’ve had time to migrate far enough north to affect the crops and build up their numbers. However, as late-season varieties of soybeans have become more plentiful and have overlapped the life cycle of these voracious pests, encounters and greater crop losses caused by the pest have become more common throughout the region.

As in the case of the redbanded stinkbug, Catchot notes that this pest has made a steady progression from Louisiana to other parts of the Mid-South in recent years.

“They’re definitely taking a northern swing into the Mid-South,” says Catchot. “They’re steadily migrating further north each year.

“They’re a little more tolerant of the chemicals that have been used to treat other species of stinkbugs,” he adds. “And they’re beginning to show up more and more in the northern half of Mississippi and in parts of southern Arkansas.”

While these crop-robbing pests have become more and more prevalent in Mid-South fields, the agricultural chemical industry has taken note and developed a number of weapons to combat these pesky insects.

According to Catchot, at least two major chemical manufacturers — Bayer and Valent — have launched products geared toward the control of late-season insects for the Mid-South soybean market.

• Bayer’s newly introduced Belt insecticide is formulated to combat a variety of lepidopterous pests such as foliar-feeding caterpillars. This new product to the Bayer lineup is expected to be labeled by midsummer.

• Also new to Bayer’s lineup is Leverage 360, an improved formulation of the company’s Leverage insecticide that offers the same active ingredients, but is formulated at a different ratio. Leverage 360 is formulated to work as a premix and offers broad control of a number of pests, including redbanded stinkbugs, corn earworms, velvetbean caterpillars and three-corner alfalfa hoppers.

• Valent’s new Belay insecticide is a clothianidin-based product that offers control against stinkbugs.

• Valent has also labeled a new seed treatment known as Nipsit, which contains both a fungicide and a clothianidin-based product that Catchot says is comparable to other commercially available insecticide seed treatments for soybeans.

Goff writes from Hernando, Miss.

This article published in the July, 2010 edition of MID-SOUTH FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.