Pest Management

Soybean Stem Pests: Survey, Impact and Education

Continuing work already underway across Illinois’ soybean fields, this project aims to identify new and emerging stem diseases and insect pests that negatively impact soybean production and yield. It will assess management practices and help prioritize future research to determine best management practices.

Project Information

  • Which insect pests and diseases are most detrimental to soybean stem health in Illinois?
  • How do they impact crop yield?
  • How prevalent are they in the various Illinois soybean geographies?
  • Statewide
  • Not all soybean stem pests and diseases are well documented throughout the state, nor are their symptomology, yield impact, alternative hosts and conducive conditions well understood. Red crown rot, stem canker, dectes stem borer and soybean gall midge are of particular interest.
  • This multi-year research project is using a combination of approaches to assess perceived and actual occurrence and impact throughout the state. Grower surveys are helping gauge presence and population levels of stem pests and diseases. Samples are being collected from fields and evaluated within a lab environment to accurately identify pests and pathogens, as well as document symptoms. This information will be used to assess priorities for future research around management options.
  • This project will inform farmers of the most prevalent pathogens and insect pests impacting soybean production fields across Illinois. It will also identify potential environmental and geographic factors that affect their incidence and distribution.
  • By better understanding these pathogens and pests, researchers and Extension staff can help farmers identify management practices that may minimize the impact of these pathogens and pests on yield.
  • During the 2023 growing season, we observed a much higher diversity of stem disease pathogens compared to 2022. In addition to Phomopsis and Anthracnose, we saw much higher levels of Phytophthora stem rot, sudden death syndrome, charcoal rot, and red crown rot. Farmers should keep these diseases in mind as they select varieties and when considering fungicide seed treatments and foliar applications where appropriate.
  • Through surveying Illinois soybean fields for dectes stem borer larval tunneling, we have found the highest population densities in south-central Illinois. In addition, Kelly Estes’ statewide survey has collected observations of adults throughout Illinois, with the highest numbers generally found in southern Illinois.
  • To-date, the potentially invasive soybean gall midge has not been found in Illinois.
  • Dr. Ahmad Fakhoury, Professor, SIU
  • Kelly Estes, State Survey Coordinator, Illinois Cooperative Agriculture Pest Survey Program (CAPS), UIUC
  • Ashley Decker, Senior Research Specialist, UIUC
  • Grayce Montano, Senior Research Specialist, UIUC
  • Danillo Leite, PhD Student, SIU
  • Will Foulke, Master’s Student, UIUC

About the Lead Researchers

Dr. Jason Bond
Professor of Plant Pathology
Southern Illinois University (SIU)

Dr. Nicholas Seiter
Assistant Professor & Field Crops Entomologist
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)

Are you a farmer or advisor?

If you’re a farmer or advisor, we invite you to take our Soybean Production Concerns Survey linked below to help guide future ISA research efforts. We also encourage you to contact us below with specific production challenge research ideas.

Are you a researcher?

If you’re a researcher interested in working with ISA on a project, we encourage you to contact us with your ideas. The RFP will open in early March. Contact us below to be added to the mailing list for more information.