Soybean Pest Podcast

by Matt O'Neal and Erin Hodgson

Erin HodgsonMatt O'Neal

Drs. Matt O’Neal and Erin Hodgson created a podcast to promote IPM concepts, like identification, sampling, economic thresholds, and insecticide efficacy. They also talk about updates on invasive pests and regulatory news, and translate new research relative to insects in agriculture.

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In this episode, Matt and Erin talk about upcoming events, pest activity updates and research projects. Erin is organizing a Corn Insects Workshop on July 29. Learn more and register here: There is a 50-person cap, so register now if you want a space! Erin had several reports of pea aphid in alfalfa, but most farmers decided to cut instead of spray. Learn how to identify aphids in alfalfa here: Erin also saw a few aphid mummies in clover and they both experienced honeydew dripping from a tree on campus this week. Matt talked a bit about planting conditions for his wasp and bee projects, noting compaction and crusting in some commercial soybean fields. 


Bad weather and superstition won't keep Matt and Erin from podcasting today. Erin shares current planting progress for Iowa (80% corn and 30% soybean) according to NASS and also talks about black cutworm injury in seedlings. Early-season clinics are starting up next week at FEEL, where she will help new agronomists learn about scouting for seedling pests. Finally, they talk about potentially podcasting on the road for the north central branch meeting in Cleveland next month.


Soybeans are going into the ground, and Matt and Erin have started a new podcasting season. They talk about early-season soybean pests, like black cutworm and bean leaf beetle, and the likelihood of seeing injury this year. Read more about the predicted cutting date for black cutworm here: They also spend some time highlighting some new people and research projects going on this summer. Finally, Matt talks about a recent publication that looks at the probability of breaking even with different inputs. 


To start this podcast, Erin recaps current growing degree days in Iowa for 2016 and how they are really different than in 2014. Visit her blog post to see some cool graphs: Matt recently attended a soybean entomology working group meeting and recapped some of the highlights. Specifically, he talked about pesticide use comparisons around the U.S. and the possible introduction of Bt soybean in the U.S. market. 


Today, Matt talks about a "farminar" with PFI (Practical Farmers of Iowa) he recently recorded. It was about neonic seed treatments in soybean. Watch the archived version here: Then Erin mentioned Pollinator Fest this summer is happening on Saturday, June 25 in Ames. But the majority of the time was spent interviewing an incoming post-doc, Matt Kaiser. He will start in Matt's lab this summer and work on a new parasitoid wasp that attacks soybean aphid. He reviews wasp biology and talks about how this new tool can help suppress soybean aphids in Iowa. 


Today in this podcast, Matt and Erin talk about a new publication summarizing insecticide evaluations for soybean aphid. The Yellow Book for soybean aphid starting in 2005 in response to a growing demand to manage this invasive pest. Matt was up for the challenge and passed the torch to Erin in 2009. Now the evaluations are at 2 ISU Research Farms and include 25+ treatments annually. You can access all the Yellow Books FREE on their lab website:


Matt and Erin have a special guest on this podcast to help understand life cycle assessments. Dr. Kurt Rosentrater is an engineer and associate professor at Iowa State. Kurt explained the basics of conducting a life cycle assessment, including assumptions and resulting complications that come with this tool. They focused on a recent example looking at environmental impacts in four major crops. Here is the link to the paper so you can follow along with figures: The assessment showed freshwater ecotoxicity impact in soybean increased 3-fold from 2002 to 2012. The authors claimed the insecticides used to control soybean aphid was an important factor. Corn, cotton and wheat did not have a significant increase of impact over the study duration. Learn more about Kurt's research and teaching program here:


Today, Matt and Erin talk about EPA's review of a popular neonic called imidacloprid. This and other active neonic ingredients have been blamed for declines in honey bee health. They share their thoughts on implications for cancellation, bee health and non-target insects. 


In this episode, Matt and Erin talk about the recent news of Dow AgroSciences and Dupont merging and possibly becoming three companies. Also, Erin talks about Crop Advantage Series, a reoccurring event for the ISU Crops Team. You can find more information, including dates, locations, speakers and more here:


Matt and Erin recap a presentation made at ICM Conference this week. Bob Koch (University of Minnesota) talked about bifenthrin failures to soybean aphid in southern Minnesota in 2015. He performed bioassays and detected resistance. The level of resistance was low, but provides the first example of this pest overcoming a pyrethroid in the field. Bob's ICM proceedings article summarizes highlights how resistance happens and strategies for prolonging insecticide efficacy. Find the proceedings free here: (search for publication AEP 0302 - 2015, pages 75-76). 


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