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Sentinel Plot Program in Soybeans

Posted: June 26, 2012

Insect pests and pathogens are annual problems in soybean fields. To manage these threats to crop production, extension personnel typically recommend an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that relies heavily on understanding local populations of pests and the threats they pose to crop fields.

For both insect pests and diseases, understanding local populations requires scouting fields regularly and assessing pest population sizes using accepted methods and then applying economic thresholds to determine if it is in the grower’s economic interest to apply a management tactic. Scouting, however, is time consuming and growers and their associates might be able to better direct their efforts if they had a resource that they could consult to determine if pest populations are active around the state or in their region. To provide such a resource to soybean growers this growing season, the Pennsylvania Soybean Board is funding a Sentinel Plot Program. In this effort, Penn State Extension will regularly scout fifteen ‘typical’ soybean fields across the state, reporting significant populations of plant pathogens and insect pests. These reports will be distributed via this weekly newsletter, Penn State’s Field Crop News, and will be available shortly on Penn State’s Field Crop Entomology website. The objective of the program is to inform growers what they may find active in their fields with the expectations is then that growers will be able to better direct their scouting efforts. This effort also includes an additional thirty or so fields in Lancaster and surrounding counties that will be scouted for brown marmorated stink bugs, so we can keep soybean grower apprised of the risk from this important invasive pest species.

Reports thus far found locally heavy populations of slugs, the populations of which should be dissipating with increasing heat and decreasing moisture in fields. The reports for the last week are listed below. Pests that were found during scouting are listed with their severity, which is rated on a 1-10 scale with 10 being the highest.

25 June 2012 – Tioga County

Field 1 – Growth stage V3

  • Bean leaf beetle active – Severity: 1
  • Potato leafhopper active – Severity: 3
  • No diseases found

Field 2 – Growth stage V3

  • No pest insects or diseases found

Field 3 – Growth stage V1

  • Bean leaf beetle active – Severity: 1
  • No diseases found

22 June 2012 – Berks County (two fields)

Field 1 – Growth stage V5.5

  • Bean leaf beetle feeding evident – Severity: 2
  • Potato leafhopper active – Severity: 1
  • Green cloverworm active – Severity: 1
  • No diseases found

Field 2 – Growth stage V5.5

  • Bean leaf beetle feeding evident – Severity: 1
  • Potato leafhopper active – Severity: 1
  • Green cloverworm active – Severity: 1
  • Grasshoppers active – Severity: 1
  • Lady beetles and damsel bugs active (beneficial species)
  • No diseases found

21 June 2012 – Lebanon County

Fields 1 and 2

  • Slugs active – Severity ranges from 1 to 5 depending on portion of the field considered
  • No diseases found

20 June 2012 – York County

Growth stage: V5

  • Japanese beetles active with typical feeding signs – Severity: 1
  • Septoria leaf spot is becoming a little more prevalent, but still on the lowest leaves – Severity: 1

19 June 2012 – Crawford County

  • No pest insects or diseases found

Contact Information

John Tooker
  • Penn State Entomology Specialist