BACKGROUND: A 2-year, multi-state study was conducted to assess the benefits of using soybean seed treated with the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam to manage soybean aphid in the upper Midwestern USA and compare this approach with an integrated pest management (IPM) approach that included monitoring soybean aphids and treating with foliar-applied insecticide only when the economic threshold was reached. Concentrations of thiamethoxam in soybean foliage were also quantified throughout the growing season to estimate the pest management window afforded by insecticidal seed treatments. RESULTS: Both the IPM treatment and thiamethoxam-treated seed resulted in significant reductions in cumulative aphid days when soybean aphid populations reached threshold levels. However, only the IPM treatment resulted in significant yield increases. Analysis of soybean foliage from thiamethoxam-treated seeds indicated that tissue concentrations of thiamethoxam were statistically similar to plants grown from untreated seeds beginning at the V2 growth stage, indicating that the period of pest suppression for soybean aphid is likely to be relatively short. CONCLUSION: These data demonstrate that an IPM approach, combining scouting and foliar-applied insecticide where necessary, remains the best option for treatment of soybean aphids, both in terms of protecting the yield potential of the crop and of break-even probability for producers. Furthermore, we found that thiamethoxam concentrations in foliage are unlikely to effectively manage soybean aphids for most of the pests' activity period across the region.
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- Aphis glycines
- economic analysis
- seed treatment
- soybean aphid