Aphid-resistant soybeans provide another control option

Soybean farmers will soon have another control option for soybean aphids—aphid-resistant soybeans.

The initial resistant trait revolves around the Rag1 gene developed by University of Illinois researchers.  For 2010, Syngenta plans to launch its aphid-management system in up to six soybean varieties with Rag1-based tolerance.  Pioneer and Monsanto are also developing resistant varieties.

Matt O’Neal is an entomology professor at Iowa State University. “We’ve been testing this source of resistance for the last couple of years, both in Iowa and with colleagues at other universities around the Midwest, and it looks like it’s going to be a pretty powerful tool,” O’Neal says.

According to O’Neal, the resistant plants will have fewer aphids compared to conventional plants.

“It won’t be aphid-free—aphids will still survive on the plant, and their numbers can build up and exceed the economic threshold,” he says, “but their population growth is much slower, and even when they reach the economic threshold or beyond, they don’t seem to have as much impact on the plant.”

O’Neal says their research shows the aphid-resistant varieties may reduce the number of insecticide applications need to manage soybean aphids.

AUDIO: Matt O’Neal (10 min MP3)

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