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Corn+Soybean Digest

Pest Management

Different problems; different pests. Those are changes that plant pathologists, weed scientists and entomologists can guarantee in the way of pest management by 2010.

The battles with weeds, diseases and insects will continue using many of today's strategies. But some new weapons will give growers reinforcements.

Soybeans will stay part of the worldwide trend toward transgenic crops, predicts Louisiana State University Agricultural Center entomologist David Boethel.

The big concern, however, is the possibility of insect pests developing resistance to a transgenic crop, he adds.

Resistance is quite the byword among specialists. Weed, insect and disease resistance will likely be common concerns well into the next century.

Greg Tylka, an Iowa State University plant pathologist, believes the backbone of disease management will still be resistant varieties and rotating to non-host crops in 2010.

Boethel, a Southern entomologist, says the movement to the Early Soybean Production System, using early planted Group IV maturity beans, will continue to help reduce late-season insect damage.

Kevin Steffey, an entomologist at the University of Illinois, foresees Global Positioning System help in pest scouting. "It's going to be very informative and help us find problems. But it won't replace legwork," he says.

Weed resistance and shift problems are likely in the future, says Aaron Hager, University of Illinois extension weed specialist.

"If we continue to rely heavily on specific herbicides in corn or soybeans and we don't continue to rotate between chemical families - we're going to have problems. The widespread adoption of Roundup Ready technology is a good candidate in which we can foresee a shift in our weed spectrum in 10 years."

Hager also predicts the implementation of visual sensors on sprayers and hopes for an innovative method to reduce spray drift. He also foresees tighter herbicide restrictions caused by urban sprawl and the contract requirements of specialty crops.

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