Kansas Farmer Logo

Soybean gall midge crops up in Kansas

Kansas State University entomologists advise soybean growers to scout for this yield-robbing pest.

Jennifer M. Latzke, Editor

June 6, 2024

1 Min Read
rows of soybeans in field
SOYBEAN PEST: Kansas State University entomologists warn that soybean gall midge has cropped up for the first time in two northern Kansas counties. Courtesy of K-State Research and Extension News service

K-State entomologists are advising Kansas soybean growers to be on the lookout for signs of soybean gall midge in their fields this growing season.

Kansas State University entomologist Anthony Zukoff reports in a recent news release that soybean gall midge showed up in fields in Nemaha and Marshall counties last year. The pest started cropping up in Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa in 2018 and has spread to neighboring states.

“Soybean gall midge are small, gnat-like flies that are just a couple millimeters long,” Zukoff says. “They have a bright orange-colored body. They have mottled wings and their legs are striped. The maggots start out as a cream color, and as they mature become bright orange.” The maggots cause the most damage, consuming the stem tissue of plants, which leads to lodging and then plant death, and ultimately poor yields.

Total yield loss to about 100 feet into field

“From the field edge, which is where the infestations typically start, to about 100 feet into the field, you could have complete yield loss,” Zukoff says. “Beyond that, at about 300 to 400 feet, you could look at about 20% yield loss.”

Farmers should scout fields for swollen and darkened stems at the base of the plants. Farmers can cut the plant stem and look for maggots inside to be sure. If farmers find soybean gall midge maggots — especially those that appear bright orange — Zukoff asks that they report those to local Extension offices, because early detection is critical.

While there are no insecticide recommendations yet for treating an infestation, producers could use crop rotation to mitigate the situation.

Read more about the pest at the Soybean Gall Midge Alert Network.

About the Author(s)

Jennifer M. Latzke

Editor, Kansas Farmer

Through all her travels, Jennifer M. Latzke knows that there is no place like Kansas.

Jennifer grew up on her family’s multigenerational registered Angus seedstock ranch and diversified farm just north of Woodbine, Kan., about 30 minutes south of Junction City on the edge of the Kansas Flint Hills. Rock Springs Ranch State 4-H Center was in her family’s backyard.

While at Kansas State University, Jennifer was a member of the Sigma Kappa Sorority and a national officer for the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. She graduated in May 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and a minor in animal science. In August 2000 Jennifer started her 20-year agricultural writing career in Dodge City, Kan., on the far southwest corner of the state.

She’s traveled across the U.S. writing on wheat, sorghum, corn, cotton, dairy and beef stories as well as breaking news and policy at the local, state and national levels. Latzke has traveled across Mexico and South America with the U.S. Wheat Associates and toured Vietnam as a member of KARL Class X. She’s traveled to Argentina as one of 10 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism. And she was part of a delegation of AAEA: The Ag Communicators Network members invited to Cuba.

Jennifer’s an award-winning writer, columnist, and podcaster, recognized by the Kansas Professional Communicators, Kansas Press Association, the National Federation of Presswomen, Livestock Publications Council, and AAEA. In 2019, Jennifer reached the pinnacle of achievements, earning the title of “Writer of Merit” from AAEA.

Trips and accolades are lovely, but Jennifer says she is happiest on the road talking to farmers and ranchers and gathering stories and photos to share with readers.

“It’s an honor and a great responsibility to be able to tell someone’s story and bring them recognition for their work on the land,” Jennifer says. “But my role is also evolving to help our more urban neighbors understand the issues our Kansas farmers face in bringing the food and fiber to their store shelves.”

She spends her time gardening, crafting, watching K-State football, and cheering on her nephews and niece in their 4-H projects. She can be found on Twitter at @Latzke.

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like