Midsouth Soybeans: Insects Cost $695.2Mln in Yields, 2017 – RBSB on the Rise

Photo: Mississippi State University

Southern farmers can do everything right and still be hit with devastating yield losses due to insect damage. Crop consultants and state extension personnel, who actively scout fields and help growers make treatment decisions, are surveyed annually for their seasonal experiences.  

Recently, I took a close look at the Mississippi Soybean Promotions Board’s Yield to Loss Insect Table, 2011-2017. It was an eye opener so I thought I would share some of the insights.

  • Combined economic losses for Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, attributed to insects (yield loss + insect management costs) during the 2011-2017 period, ranged from $407.7 million in 2013 to $695.2 million in 2017.
  • In 2017, the Redbanded stinkbug (RBSB) was the dominant stinkbug and had the highest cost plus lost yield estimates in Arkansas and Mississippi, and was the dominant stinkbug in Louisiana.

Based on the 4 state summaries below, consistent presence of several of the damaging insect species across all years underlines the importance of resistance management when control measures are selected each year. Where possible, insecticidal chemistries should be rotated when targeting the same pest year after year.  Click here for additional information. Production losses are based on estimates of yield in the absence of insects. Insect loss and cost data for insect management are from No. 1 issues of 2012-2018 Midsouth Entomologist.   Acreage and price data are from NASS.

Arkansas, 2011-2017

  • Largest state percentage yield loss to insects.
  • Insect control costs/acre were highest for Arkansas in 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2017.
  • Armyworm complex, corn earworm, and stink bugs were prominent damaging insects in all years.
  • Bean leaf beetle was prominent in 2013-2017, and soybean looper was prominent in 2011-2013 and 2016-2017.
  • Redbanded stinkbug (RBSB) was the dominant stinkbug in 2017 and had the highest cost + lost yield estimates.

Louisiana, 2011-2017

  • Highest insect control cost/ acre in 2013, 2015, and 2016.
  • Soybean looper and stink bugs were prominent in all years.  Corn earworm was prominent only in 2011.
  • Threecornered alfalfa hopper was prominent in 5 of the 7 years, while either green clover worm, velvetbean caterpillar, or both were prominent in 2013-2017.
  • RBSB was the dominant stinkbug in 2017.

Mississippi, 2011-2017

  • Annual yield losses to insects ranged from 2.77% (2014) to 5.11% (2017).  
  • Economic losses attributed to insects (yield loss + insect management costs) in Mississippi ranged from $46.45/acre in 2014 to $79.77/acre in 2017 .
  • Economic losses to insect damage plus costs for applied control measures in Mississippi ranged from $100.8 million in 2011 to $173.1 million in 2017.
  • Corn earworm and soybean looper were prominent in all years.  Stink bugs were prominent in 2012-2017. Either green cloverworm, velvetbean caterpillar, or both had a significant presence in all years.  
  • RBSB was the dominant stinkbug in 2017 and had the highest cost + lost yield estimates

Tennessee, 2011-2017

  • Lowest economic loss/acre to insects (yield loss + insect management costs) in all years.
  • Stink bugs and green clover worm were prominent damaging species in all years.
  • Corn earworm was prominent only in 2011.  Soybean looper was not prominent in any of the 7 years.
  • The green stinkbug was the dominant stinkbug in 2017.
  • Slugs were the major pest listed under “other” and caused significant replanting.

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