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Soybean gall midge: What we know thus far

Photo Courtesy of Erin Hodgson, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

The 2018 growing and harvest seasons presented many challenges.

Mother Nature created quite a few problems. But that’s not all…

Growers in 18 Iowa counties attributed yield deficits to a new soybean pest.

AUDIO: Aaron Saeugling, Iowa State University Extension & Outreach

A new pest was identified in Iowa soybean fields this past growing season. Soybean gall midge, a new species of midge, wreaked havoc in 18 Iowa counties. Aaron Saeugling, Extension field agronomist with Iowa State University (ISU), says the effects were devastating.

“The effects we’ve noticed is immediate soybean death,” Saeugling said. “When I say ‘death,’ it’s terminal. Basically there’s zero yield loss in these areas where the pest affected soybeans.”

Currently, the pest seems to be isolated to field edges.

“When I say soybean death, it’s not like it’s taking an entire field, but it has the potential to do that. We need to look at field edges. That’s where we want to start our scouting,” Saeugling said. “Probably in that mid-May to first part of July, we want to start scouting soybean fields.”

In 2019, agronomists, entomologists and researchers will look to identify what is causing the death in soybeans. With a better understanding of the pest, these experts then hope to find good control measures.

“At this point, we’re in the exploratory phase when it comes to seed treatments and insecticides. I can’t say, for or against, whether they have an effect on it,” Saeugling said. “We have a lot of data that will tell us that we had insecticide treated seed and it wasn’t enough. At this point, we do know crop rotation, planting that field to corn, would have an effect and should not impact corn plants.”

Stay tuned to the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network for more information about soybean gall midge, specifically in regard to the research looking into this new pest.