Insect causes problems for soybean farmers

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SUTHERLAND, Iowa (KCAU)- Soybean farmers in the area are now dealing with a new pest in their fields. The Gall Midge is an insect destroying fields of soybeans across the Missouri River valley.

The Gall Midge was first identified as a species last December, right now entomologist do not know a lot about the bug. However, researchers are working to learn more about the insect’s connection to soybeans and its overall life cycle.

“You know it’s causing damage affecting yield that’s the bottom line,” said Terry Tuttle Superintendent at the Iowa State University Northwest research farm.

The research fields have more than 110 acres of soybeans infested with the bright orange insect. 

“The gall midge has done you know damage in this particular case it is easy to see other fields it’s a little harder to find but their there and it’s more widespread than people think,”  said Tuttle.

Soybean farmers in Nebraska first noticed the Gall Midge in 201. Since then it has continued to spread to neighboring states.

“They feed on the base of soybean plants as they get close to pupating it’s got to complete its life cycle so the pupate drops off into the soil and they will pupate and they will become an a adult and start the next cycle,” said Joel DeJong agronomist with Iowa State University.

The insect is only an 8th of an inch long and feeds inside the soybean plant.

“That’s what makes them really tough to control because you can’t get pesticides to control them because they’re underneath the skin,” said DeJong.  

Right now farmers have no way to stop the insect and its already impacting yields.

“We’re trying all sorts of treatments we’ll find out at the end of the season if we see anything statistically significant right now it doesn’t look very promising at this stage of the game but we’re going to see what happens,” said DeJong.

While researchers continue to look for a way to stop the bug, their main focus this year is to try to prevent it from spreading. Iowa State University is asking farmers who have seen the Gall Midge bug in their fields, not to transfer soil from one field to the next With spring and fall tillage.

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