Watch for Sudden Death and Stink Bugs in 2015

Each December researchers from across the Upper Midwest gather at Iowa State University in Ames for the Integrated Crop Management (ICM) conference where they present data and opinions on a wide variety of topics. Information, which I believe is most pertinent to the Midwest states in which we do business, is summarized below.

SDS: Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) was severe in many fields in 2014. Many Latham® Ironclad™ Soybeans were put to the test and did an excellent job of handling the disease! Understanding the extent of SDS infection in each field is key to effectively managing the disease. Future management tactics include: reducing soil compaction; planting fields with a history of SDS towards the end of a planting schedule when soils may be warmer and drier; and testing for the presence of Soybean Cyst Nematodes.

However, the very nature of SDS makes it difficult to predict if and when an outbreak will occur. Dr. Daren Mueller, Iowa State University Extension Plant Pathologist, and his team shared years of extensive research on SDS including:

    • Glyphosate herbicide applications do not adversely affect or enhance the presence of SDS in soybean fields.
    • A side benefit of this study was a look at glyphosate applications versus manganese availability in plants. Fourteen field experiments were conducted in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada. There were no interactions between glyphosate and the total manganese available in soybeans.
    • That same study did include a new treatment called ILeVO™ from Bayer CropScience. It showed significant effectiveness at reducing the severity of the disease, resulting in 2½ to 3 bushels of saved yield on average. Bayer expects full registration for this product soon.

NEW, INVASIVE INSECT: The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) is a fairly new insect species that has the potential to cause serious crop injury. It is already considered a severe agricultural pest in New England and East Coast states. It was first noticed in Pennsylvania in 1998 and has rapidly spread to 41 states. It was first seen in Iowa in 2012; in 2014, BMSB was confirmed in eight Iowa counties. This particular species has the typical “shield-like” body of other stink bugs. However, BMSB also has rounded shoulders, white and dark bands along the edge of the body and along the antennae plus the marmorated (speckled) appearance on its back.

This insect will feed on over 100 different species of plants, including many fruits, vegetables and field crops. In corn, BMSB feeds directly on developing kernels right through the husk causing aborted, shrunken and discolored seeds. Similarly, it will feed on soybeans directly through the pods and cause extensive damage to the seeds present. Control can be achieved with several insecticides but residual may not last long enough to prevent the insect from re-infesting the field.