S1080: Improving Soybean Arthropod Pest Management in the U.S.

(Multistate Research Project)

Status: Active

S1080: Improving Soybean Arthropod Pest Management in the U.S.

Duration: 10/01/2018 to 09/30/2023

Administrative Advisor(s):


NIFA Reps:


Statement of Issues and Justification

Soybean production continues to increase to meet the world demand. In 2016, the U.S. led the world in soybean production, producing 34% of the world’s soybeans valued at $41 million (SoyStats 2018). However, native and invasive soybean insect pests continue to expand distributions and ranges and continue to adapt to management practices, threatening soybean yield and quality. In the short-term, loss of current, highly effective management tactics is increasing producer costs. In the long-term, the establishment of invasive insect pests will continue to impact soybean ecosystems, altering integrated pest management (IPM) strategies which have proven effective in the past. In the Midsouth and Southeast, corn earworm, soybean looper, and stink bugs, are the major pest issues. In the Midwest, introduction and establishment of the soybean aphid has irreversibly changed soybean production, resulting in a 130-fold increase in insecticide use and a loss plus cost of control of $2.4 to 4.9 million annually (Hanson et al. 2017). To address these concerns, coordinated research and extension delivery are necessary to understand pest biology, develop best management practices, and deliver recommendations to soybean producers.

Throughout the history of S1055 (S_TEMP1080), this multi-state project has had an excellent record of rapidly addressing the needs of stakeholders. Participants of S1055 are supported not only by state, regional, and national soybean commodity groups but by partnerships with industry and non-governmental organizations to develop the most effective soybean insect IPM research and extension activities. Native and historical pests of soybean continue to present challenges to producers. Invasive pest problems, such as soybean aphid and redbanded stink bug, have been and will continue to be, effectively addressed by this regional project. Major examples of changing soybean pest issues since the last project renewal include the continued spread and establishment of redbanded stink bug (Bundy et al. 2018), kudzu bug (Eger et al. 2018), and brown marmorated stink bug (Hamilton et al. 2018) into new soybean producing geographical areas. Additionally, soybean pests continue to develop resistance to insecticides; soybean aphid to pyrethroids (Hanson et al. 2017) and soybean looper to methoxyfenozide (Brown 2012). Along with the changing pest complexes, soybean producers are also faced with managing pests with fewer tools and technologies, and at higher risks. Producers rely more and more on insurance-based strategies due to credit availability, crop insurance premiums, uncertain commodity prices, and changing weather patterns. This shift of management tactics often results in the use of prophylactic treatments to prevent pest damage. Unnecessary insecticide use has the potential for negative effects on several levels, not the least of which is enhancing the potential for resistance.

Therefore, coordinated, area-wide research approaches that S1055 has excelled in are necessary to understand pest biology, develop and deliver management recommendations, and track their distribution to minimize impact on soybean production. This approach has the additional benefit of avoiding overlapping research among regions while maximizing collaborations. Without research-based management recommendations, millions of dollars can be lost as a result of decreased yields or seed quality, improper deployment of control recommendations, and/or increased insecticide resistance. S1055 participants have the skills, facilities, and knowledge to develop and implement effective, user-friendly IPM programs for these pests and future insect pest problems.

Advantages of Multi-State Effort
As soybean pests expand and spread across the soybean growing region, multi-state, collaborative research is necessary to discern management tactics that work under different cropping conditions and systems. These activities combine the expertise and efforts of multiple scientists leading to more timely and effective IPM solutions. With soybeans grown in 31 states and many soybean insect pests distributed across state and provincial borders, S1055 is a natural working group for addressing soybean pest problems, and it has worked synergistically for many years to benefit soybean industries in the U.S. and Canada. Multistate collaborations already exist, and many management tactics have been successfully developed, delivered and implemented including IPM programs for lepidopteran defoliators, stink bugs, and soybean aphid. Additionally, USDA-NIFA collaborators from various states also have worked and published together in this proposal.

These research efforts are supported by experienced basic and applied research and extension entomologists who work in universities and government agencies from the various soybean producing states in the U.S. and provinces in Canada. Participants maintain connections and collaborations through multi-state projects and with various state, regional, and national commodity organizations as well as well as with private industry. Through coordination of S1055, these scientists have an excellent record of developing and implementing effective IPM programs for major insect pests attacking soybean. In 2009, the S1055 multi-state project (then named S1039) received the National Excellence in Multistate Research Award from the American Public Land-Grant Universities. Based on these prior accomplishments, we feel strongly that our group is positioned to continue to deliver useful, science-based information to our stakeholders in the face of new and changing pest challenges.

Likely Impacts
This project will generate necessary data on established and invasive soybean pest densities, distributions, and biology that are critical to improve overall national soybean IPM programs. The group continues to focus on soybean aphid, stink bugs, and insecticide-resistant Lepidoptera while continuing to scout, document, and control invasive soybean pests. In general, the project will continue to prioritize maintaining a sustainable soybean IPM program where sustainability is defined as pursuing maximal profitability in the short-term without sacrificing the potential for long-term stability of the system. We will continue our focus on utilizing a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and chemical tools to regulate pest populations while minimizing environmental risks.

Related, Current and Previous Work

Members of the previous (S1055) project have performed research and have been the leaders in providing recommendations for several soybean insect pests and the tactics used to control them. Here, we list some of the outputs and outcomes that S1055 has produced:


Insecticide Seed Treatments (ISTs): The impact and assessment of ISTs has been very contentious, especially with the potential link of neonicotinoids to bee decline (Goulson et al. 2015). The key questions S1055 members have been addressing related to ISTs are; (1) do ISTs control early season soybean pests, (2) what are the economic benefits of ISTs, and (3) what impact are ISTs having on natural enemies and selected pollinators (bees). The results have varied region to region. For the Midsouth, ISTs provided some early season insect control and provided economic benefit compared to fungicide only treated seed in 4 out of 10 years (North et al. 2016). In the Southeast, ISTs controlled thrips early season but did not result in increased yields (Reisig et al. 2012). In the Midwest, ISTs did control soybean aphid early season but did not result in yield increases (Krupke et al. 2017). S1055 members have studied the effects of host plant resistance combined with ISTs and natural enemies (Kandel et al. 2015) and the toxicity of ISTs to natural enemies (Camargo et al. 2017). Finally, S1055 members have been leaders in defining the impact of ISTs on honey bees (Stewart et al. 2014), showing that few foraging honey bees tested positive for neonicotinoids and that soybean flowers “… contained little or no neonicotinoids…”.


Soybean Aphid: S1055 members have participated in multi-year, multi-state studies determining soybean aphid economic thresholds (Ragsdale et al. 2007), identifying and documenting host plant resistance genes (Hesler et al. 2017), defining the utility of host plant resistance (Hesler et al. 2013), identifying biotypes (Michel et al. 2011), determining dispersal patterns (Schmidt et al. 2012), and establishing insecticide efficacy (Koch et al. 2016).


Kudzu Bug: S1055 members have participated in multi-year, multi-state studies determining kudzu bug action thresholds (Seiter et al. 2015a), identifying host plant resistance (Fritz et al. 2016), determining dispersal patterns (Knight et al. 2017), and establishing insecticide efficacy (Seiter et al. 2015b).


Redbanded Stink Bug: S1055 members have determined redbanded stink bug occurrence in soybean in LA and TX (Temple et al. 2013a, Vyavhare et al. 2014), identified redbanded stink bug action thresholds (Davis 2016), established insecticide efficacy (Temple et al. 2013b), established redbanded stink bug feeding causes delayed maturity in soybean (Vyavhare et al. 2015), established oviposition behavior and sex ratios in the field (Temple et al. 2016), identified redbanded stink bug alternate hosts (Vyavhare et al. 2016), and determined redbanded stink bug’s cold tolerance and supercooling capacity (Bastola and Davis 2018).

Objectives

  1. Document changing soybean pest and beneficial arthropod assemblages.
    Comments: Soybean is injured by a diverse guild of insect pests feeding on leaves, stems, roots, nodules, and pods. The major insect pests in these guilds have markedly changed in the last two decades due to the introduction and range expansion of invasive insects and the adaptation of native pests.
  2. Characterize soybean insect biology and ecology
    Comments: The range expansion of invasive pests, coupled with the adaptation of native pests, necessitate further research into how insects cope with new selection pressures
  3. Develop coordinated best management practices (BMPs).
    Comments: As soybean insect pest assemblages change, there is a need to update pest management strategies.
  4. Educate farmers, industry, colleagues, general public, and agricultural professionals using traditional tools and innovative methods.
    Comments: Our Working Group works extensively with stakeholders at all levels. For our clientele, we represent one of the only unbiased sources of information for decision-making of IPM strategies.

Methods

Objective 1. Document changing soybean pest and beneficial arthropod assemblages.
IPM efforts must focus on these changing assemblages and this work will document the current equilibrium baseline of soybean insect pests in each state, both in terms of acres infested, acres treated, cost of treatment, and estimated loss due to each insect. Existing multi-state sampling efforts and development of common protocols to monitor the spread of pests throughout the soybean-growing region (Temple et al. 2009, Hebert 2011). In addition, this objective will develop and share new methodologies to survey for the presence, establishment, and spread of emerging and existing pests through coordinated sampling and surveys with clientele; i.e. extension agents, consultants, producers, and researchers. This working group has a track record of successfully monitoring pest movement through soybean producing regions of the U.S. (Schmidt et al. 2012, Gardner et al. 2013, Temple et al. 2013, Bakken et al. 2015, Koch et al. 2017, and Villanueva 2017). Population sampling methods used in those studies will continue to be employed in this project. Records to document scouting efforts and insecticide applications applied in each state will be collected with surveys of stakeholders, as well as soybean state and federal scientists. These yearly changes will be documented and collated into published reports and journal articles to provide historic records. One such example of a publication is the annual soybean insect pest losses that includes contributions from the working group representing numerous US soybean producing states (Musser et al. 2016).

Objective 2. Characterize soybean insect biology and ecology. This working group has exceled at characterizing soybean insect biology and ecology of invasive soybean pests such as kudzu bug (Del Pozo-Valdivia and Reisig 2017, Knight et al. 2017), redbanded stink bug (Temple et al. 2016, Bastola and Davis 2018), and soybean aphid (Hough et al. 2016, Hesler et al. 2017, Marchi-Werle et al. 2017), native soybean pests such as corn earworm (Adams et al. 2015, Reisig et al. 2017, Suits et al. 2017), bean leaf beetle (Tiroesele et al. 2014), and threecornered alfalfa hopper (Cook et al. 2014), and beneficial insects (Whalen et al. 2016, Kandel et al. 2016, Bannerman et al. 2018). Basic biological studies for target insects and interactions in the environment will be performed following protocols and procedures from these previous studies. Data from this objective will not only lead to a better understanding of insect pests, but will be integrated with Objectives 1, 3, and 4 to develop sustainable IPM recommendations based on system level interactions. This objective will include laboratory and field experiments to better understand soybean insect pest biology. The direct effects of pests on soybean will be documented across multiple states. Interactions with the biotic (weeds, cover crops, pathogens, pollinators, and natural enemies) and abiotic (climate, nutrients, insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides) will be reviewed at multiple levels (plant, field, agro-ecoscape). Methods will include host-plant resistance screening, evaluation of non-target effects of insecticide treatments (both seed-applied and foliar) and efficacy of virus transmission. Additional studies will examine insect ecology under environmental conditions that restrict geographical ranges and influence reproductive rate. Preliminary observations suggest that as climates variability increases, insects may adapt and expand ranges.


Objective 3. Develop coordinated best management practices.
Single tactics alone are not sustainable, as this Working Group has demonstrated in the past. Insect management strategies will be developed for emerging insect pests with consideration of their concurrence with other established pest species. Sampling remains as the foundation of successful IPM programs. Development of action thresholds to initiate insecticide treatments has been a consistent and long-term successful output of this group (Ragsdale et al. 2007, Musser et al. 2011b, Adams et al. 2016b). In order to reduce inputs, environmental risks, and prophylactic treatments, working group participants will continue to develop and implement action thresholds specific to their regions (Owens et al. 2013, Seiter et al. 2015, Adams et al. 2016b, Temple et al. 2016, Marchi-Werle et al. 2017, Koch et al. 2016) while exploring new technologies (i.e. host plant resistance through transgenics) and biological control as a component of IPM. Insecticides remain a primary management tool and Working Group members will evaluate efficacy and effects on non-targets, while monitoring for resistance. These studies document changes in product efficacy and record changes in the insecticide susceptibility among pest populations. Established insecticide resistance monitoring programs will continue for key pests across most of the US soybean producing states. This Working Group has been instrumental in documenting baseline and reduced insecticide efficacy over time and will continue to do so (Brown 2012, Owens et al. 2013, Adams et al. 2016a, Ribeiro et al. 2017, Tietjen et al. 2017, Koch et al. 2018). The value of biological control agents in an overall IPM program and the inherent risks posed by insecticide applications (foliar and seed-applied) to these agents will continue to be monitored. There continues to be new soybean insect pest suppression technologies developed by industry. Members remain as the primary contacts for the private sector and we will continue to test these new products in laboratory and field environments.

4. Educate farmers, industry, colleagues, general public, and agricultural professionals using traditional tools and innovative methods. In order to extend timely information, multiple information delivery methods must be employed. Traditional methods of stakeholder talks, fact sheets, newsletters, and refereed publications will continue to be the foundation for transferring information. Much of this effort will be facilitated through educational events with state, regional or county-based extension programming. In this “connected” world, social communication and e-delivery methods (blogs, YouTube videos) will continue to expand and allow this Working Group to reach a broader range of demographics. Members of this group are leaders in this delivery method including novel Smartphone apps such as “The Bugspot” and the “Northern Plains IPM Guide” (McCornack 2012, Tilmon and Hadi 2012). Scientists associated with the project have a productive record of collaboration on multistate publications and coordinated recommendations (Swenson et al. 2013, Krupke et al. 2017). It is anticipated that where possible, this collaboration will continue. Novel information and experiences will be shared among Working Group members during the annual project meeting to highlight research successes and failures. Finally, in order to continue general collaborations with other applied entomologists and extend research findings with colleagues beyond this Working Group, we will organize a “Multistate Project Symposium” addressing current soybean IPM issues each year at a professional conference.

Measurement of Progress and Results

Outputs

  • Peer reviewed manuscripts in high impact journals
  • Training of graduate students to be the next leaders in research and education.
  • Proposals submitted to industry and state and federal agencies for research and education funding.
  • Presentations to industry, grower, and science/technical audiences.
  • Articles and/or reports to industry, grower, and science/technical audiences.
  • Structured symposia delivered at regional or national meetings

Outcomes or Projected Impacts

  • Documentation of soybean insect pests in each state, both in terms of acres infested, acres treated, cost of treatment, and estimated loss due to each insect.
  • Characterization of soybean insect pest biology and interactions of these pests with the biotic and the abiotic factors
  • Documentation of regional performance data of host plant resistance genes and plant incorporated protectants
  • Documentation of insecticide efficacy and spread of insecticide resistance
  • Knowledge on deploying integrated control tactics
  • Information for regional extension publications and outreach material

Milestones

(0):Each of the output expectations will be satisfactorily completed on an annual basis through the five year period of the project. This is an ongoing project and the annual results will build on each success to produce successful outcomes.

Projected Participation

View Appendix E: Participation

Outreach Plan

Many members of this Working Group have substantial extension responsibilities. Their work involves a variety of opportunities to interact with stakeholders. One delivery method is through federal and state recertification programs: farmers and commercial applicators need continuing education credits to maintain their application certifications. These meetings will allow scientists to provide research-based extension materials (e.g., fact sheets, newsletters, other publications) on soybean insects and best management practices. These outputs and recommendations are shared among members of the group to avoid duplication of effort and to harmonize our message between states.

Project members will continue to deliver recommendations to a wide variety of audiences through formal presentations, web-based learning tools, social media, and on-farm field demonstrations. The knowledge and experience gained from field research and demonstrations will enable producers, agricultural consultants, and industry scientists to make informed decisions about managing insects in soybean, including: 1) a better understanding of the pest life cycles, and the implications for genetic resistance and long-term suppression; 2) recognition of emerging (and often invasive) pests; 3) identification of natural enemies and their positive effects on pests; and 4) discovery of proactive tactics (e.g., sampling and the use of an economic threshold) to ultimately protect yield, increase profits in an environmentally sustainable system.

In many instances, the members of this project represent one of the only unbiased sources of information for soybean IPM. Numerous industry personnel serve these stakeholders directly but their messages may be influenced by their respective products. The information generated in this project and shared at the annual meeting will facilitate developing regional recommendations from peer-reviewed results to support the U.S. soybean industry.

Organization/Governance

The Technical Committee is made up of voting members, one from each state or province.  A voting member is defined as the state leader or a designated proxy which has also submitted Appendix E.  The Executive Committee is made up of the Past-Chair, the Chair, and the Secretary (Chair-Elect), with the Administrative Advisor and the NIFA representative serving as ex-officio members.  The Secretary in a given year assumes the Chair position the following year.  Elections for a new Secretary are held at each annual meeting.  A separate individual will handle local arrangements for annual meetings.

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