Soybean aphid tolerance coming in 2011
Monsanto Company will introduce new Genuity® Roundup Ready 2 Yield® soybean varieties with aphid tolerance in 2011, company officials said Friday.
Since their identification in 2000, soybean aphids have become a major pest in soybean fields throughout the Northern United States. When left untreated, these insects can multiply rapidly and cause significant yield losses. They feed on the sap of the soybeans, leaving behind stunted, curled soybean plants which lead to reduced pod set and seed size. Feeding also potentially transmits harmful viral diseases.
“Monsanto’s new aphid tolerant soybeans will be introduced initially in maturity groups I and II in the upper Midwest, the areas where aphid populations are typically the highest,” Monsanto soybean traits technical manager Aaron Robinson says in a company report.
In environments with medium aphid populations, he says the economic threshold of 250 aphids per plant was never reached and therefore no foliar insecticide was applied to the Genuity® Roundup Ready 2 Yield® Aphid Tolerant varieties. However, the non-aphid tolerant soybean varieties did require a foliar insecticide application.
Dr. Shawn Conley, state soybean specialist at the University of Wisconsin, said aphid-tolerant technology would offer multiple benefits.
“If you look at the impact that these insects have, true aphid resistance could provide a real economic boon to farmers in helping to reduce their yield loss,” Conley says. “Another advantage is that this technology could help eliminate some of the early insecticide sprays that also reduce the population of beneficial insects."