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Bug Beat: Insects can continue causing economic issues at this time in the season.

Tom Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

June 29, 2016

2 Min Read

Crop consultants, whether independent or working through your local retail supplier, sometimes schedule scouting trips at various points in the season. To save a few bucks, you might be tempted to call off late-season scouting. Could insects even cause economic damage that late?

The Indiana Certified Crops Adviser panel tackles this dilemma. Panel members are Jamie Bultemeier, agronomist with A&L Great Lakes Labs in Fort Wayne; Gene Flaningam, Flaningam Ag Consulting LLC, Vincennes; and Bryan Overstreet, Extension ag educator in Jasper County.


Bultemeier: Foliar feeding on soybeans can reduce photosynthesis capabilities during early grain fill. Insects can also impact grain quality if they feed on pods during late grain fill. Bean leaf beetle defoliation in August can be treated. It can have a large enough impact on yield to justify treatment.

Flaningam: August is an ideal time to inspect soybeans for several insects, including bean leaf beetles, stinkbugs and other insects that may feed on pods. Inspect soybean fields for signs of pod feeding during the reproductive stage, which begins soon, if it hasn’t already.

Overstreet: Bean leaf beetles have a second generation in mid- to late summer. According to the Purdue University Corn & Soybean Field Guide, the threshold that justifies treatment at the full seed or R6 stage is anything over 25% defoliation with beetles actively feeding, or 5% to 10% damage to pods with 10 or more beetles per foot of row. (When determining percent defoliation or percent feeding, take the whole plant into consideration.)

Flaningam: Inspect two soybean plants in five different areas of the field. Count the number of pods per plant, and determine what percentage of pods overall show signs of feeding. Note if pods are still green, or if they are already turning yellow and maturing. That is a factor in determining possible payoff for a proposed insecticide application. If you find 10% of the pods with feeding damage, and if plants are still green and developing, then an insecticide treatment may be justified.

Overstreet: If you or your consultant finds enough damage to meet the threshold triggering treatment, consult Purdue Extension Publication E-77 on soybean insect control recommendations for 2016. You can find it at

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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