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Iowa Soybean Research Center

in collaboration with the Iowa Soybean Association

ISRC Sponsors Speaker on Soybean Gall Midge

Justin McMechan
Justin McMechan explains how and where soybean gall midge has spread.

In recognition of the ISRC’s yearlong, 10th anniversary celebration, the center is sponsoring seminar speakers to give presentations at Iowa State University on a variety of soybean-related topics. On April 2, the ISRC sponsored Justin McMechan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, as part of ISU’s Department of Plant Pathology, Entomology and Microbiology spring seminar series. 

McMechan provided an overview of soybean gall midge and described how scientists associated with the Soybean Gall Midge Alert Network continue to study the pest and investigate different management strategies. Discovered as a new species in 2018, soybean gall midge was found in soybean fields in Nebraska and Iowa along the Missouri River. Since then, it has continued to spread and has been found in 164 counties across seven states. The number of infested counties is likely to grow again this year. Feeding by the larvae has the potential to result in a near complete loss of yield for the first 100 feet along the field edge, with an average yield loss of 18-31% on an entire field.

Scientists are scrambling to come up with answers, but McMechan says it may likely take another 5-6 years before they have a better understanding of how to manage the pest effectively. Researchers have had inconsistent results with foliar insecticides and are looking into biologicals, genetics and alternative management practices such as hilling (the movement of the soil to cover the base of soybean plants) and planting date. While hilling has proven to have a significant impact, it is not the most realistic option for many farmers as it is time consuming and requires special equipment. Later planting has also shown effectiveness, but may not be readily adopted because later planting also affects yields. 

McMechan's seminar was well attended.
Justin McMechan speaking to a packed room at the Advanced Teaching and Research Building at ISU as part of the plant pathology, entomology and microbiology spring seminar series.

McMechan’s soybean gall midge research has been funded by the North Central Soybean Research Program, USDA-NIFA, United Soybean Board, Nebraska Soybean Board, North Central IPM Center, AMVAC, Bayer CropScience, Corteva, FMC, Syngenta and Valent. 

The ISRC is currently working with the Department of Agronomy Seminar Committee to sponsor a soybean panel discussion on September 19. Tentative plans are to invite a farmer, an industry agronomist and other Iowa professionals associated with soy production. Look for more details in the July newsletter.