Decreasing the environmental impacts of soybean aphid management
Robert Koch, Entomology
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
- "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)