Decreasing the environmental impacts of soybean aphid management
Robert Koch, Entomology
The soybean aphid (Aphis glycines) is the most significant insect pest of soybean production, especially in Minnesota. Soybean farmers currently protect against soybean aphids with insecticides, which threaten the economic and environmental sustainability of soybean production. This research will directly serve the agricultural community of Minnesota by advancing the development of aphid-resistant soybean cultivars and improving remote sensing technologies to locate damaging levels of soybean aphids. The resulting decreases in insecticide inputs will reduce adverse economic and environmental impacts of soybean aphid management.
- How can we expand the diversity of aphid-resistant cultivars available to growers?
- How can we advance remote sensing for soybean aphid?
Soybean breeding efforts will advance pyramided aphid-resistant soybean lines currently in the breeding pipeline and develop new pyramided lines with known and novel sources of resistance. In addition, aphid resistance will be expanded into food-type soybean germplasm.
This project will advance remote sensing for soybean aphid by taking our patent-pending tool for decision-making about insecticide applications for soybean aphid to a broadly applicable, satellite-based platform. This tool could be used to prioritize fields for ground- or drone-based scouting, or enable decision making for individual fields.
Robert Koch, principal investigator Department of Entomology
Aaron Lorenz, Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics
David Mulla, Department of Soil, Water and Climate
Ian MacRae, Department of Entomology
Zach Marston, scientist
The number of soybean acres treated with broad-spectrum insecticides has increased 140-fold since the invasion of the soybean aphid in 2011. Growers are requesting more economically and environmentally efficient options to protect their yield.
Pest-resistant crop lines offer one alternative to heavy spraying. At least nine soybean aphid-resistance genes have been identified to date, but few of today’s commercially available resistant varieties are suitable for Minnesota growing conditions. This project will close that gap for local growers by developing a selection of soybean aphid-resistant lines appropriate for our state.
Researchers will also focus on lowering the burden of pest scouting for growers with the use of new drone technology. The time-intensive nature of traditional pest scouting has led some growers to bypass it, applying broad-spectrum insecticides preventively regardless of aphid density. Fortunately, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) show promise as a more convenient option for estimating pest damage and insect counts across a field. The ability to quickly gather this information will help farmers apply insecticides on a truly as-needed basis, reducing cost, environmental impact and risk of chemical resistance.
- Can we develop aphid-resistant soybean varieties that are adapted to Minnesota growing conditions?
- How can we use UAV’s to estimate where and how abundant soybean aphids are in a field?
This work will help growers reduce their annual insecticide use by improving prevention and treatment of the soybean aphid. It will develop Minnesota-specific, aphid-resistant soybean lines and evaluate the use of UAV’s (drones) to quickly scout for aphids prior to insecticide application.
A portion of this project is jointly funded by the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council
Robert Koch, principal investigator
Theresa Cira, post-doctoral associate
Siddhi Bhusal, post-doctoral associate
Aaron Lorenz, co-investigator
Demoz Gebre Egziabher, co-investigator
News & Publications
- Video: Gathering Soybean Data (MN Soybean Research & Promotion Council, 2020)
- Detection of stress induced by soybean aphid (Hemiptera: Aphididae) using multispectral imagery from unmanned aerial vehicles. Journal of Economic Entomology, 2019
- "Soy natural: Genetic resistance against aphids" High Plains Journal
- Genome-wide association mapping of host-plant resistance to soybean aphid (The Plant Genome, 2018)
- Interactions of host-plant resistance and foliar insecticides for soybean aphid management (Crop Protection, 2018)
- Management of insecticide-resistant soybean aphids in the upper Midwest of the United States (Journal of Integrated Pest Management, 2018)