Final report: All the sentinel fields that we have been scouting since spring have exceeded growth stage R7, most are starting to senesce and practically speaking insects and diseases are no longer a concern. Some of our fields look excellent and a least one that received regular rain has an expected yield in the range of 80 bushel per acre. Undoubtedly others will be lower, but we hope that everyone’s field penciled out in the black.
The purpose of our annual scouting effort is to do just that, help farmers remain profitable. The goal of our effort is to provide a glimpse of somewhat local pest populations so growers will know what may be active in their fields. Importantly, it is our expectation that our scouting will prompt curiosity and further scouting in farmers’ own fields. By reporting the insect and pathogen populations we hope to illustrate that most Pennsylvania soybean fields do not experience economically significant insect, slug, or disease damage. In fact, after running this program for five years in about 20 fields per year, only one field has had a pest population that exceeded the economic threshold and needed an insecticide application—that is 1% of fields needed an insecticide at all. By realizing this and then scouting their own fields (or having them scouted), farmers should be able to see for themselves that pest populations are usually low and insecticides and fungicides (including seed treatments) are infrequently needed. This realization will allow farmers to avoid the expenses and improve their profitability, which is the purpose of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in the first place.