New Tool for Soybean Pest Management

A new online tool from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers timely pest management information, recommended tasks, and UNL research results to tackle Nebraska’s primary soybean pests.

Developed by University of Nebraska-Lincoln doctoral student Josh Miller with financial support from the Nebraska Soybean Board, the Soybean Management Calendar is now available at CropWatch.unl.edu/SoyCal.

“This tool is organized in a way that makes sense to growers for timely decision-making,” Miller said. Disease, insect, and weed information is available in a calendar format with a “Current Tasks” section that outlines pest management steps to focus on now.

“This management tool is a really good means to help growers quickly identify when different pests are likely to be attacking their crop,” said Victor Bohuslavsky, Executive Director of the Nebraska Soybean Board. “We’re glad that this will be available to our soybean growers for the 2016 season.”

“Pest management involves a complex web of interactions among weed, disease, and insect pressures, cultural practices and weather”, Miller said. SoyCal creates an information hub identifying which pressures are greatest at that point in the season and what steps producers can take to address them. It includes short management tips, photos to aid in pest identification, video demonstrations, and links to more detailed information in CropWatch.unl.edu. The Exploratory Research Section “boils down” results of research projects funded by the Nebraska Soybean Board so growers can implement the findings that apply to their operations, he said. The research covers a range of topics in disease, weed, and insect management and soybean production. 
Miller realized the need for a mobile friendly tool like SoyCal based on his work as an agronomist with a mid-Atlantic independent Ag retailer for eight years.

SoyCal reflects how Miller approaches his research and his work, taking a systems-based approach to crop production and pest management issues. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Maryland where his studies focused on cell and molecular biology and plant genetics. After working in the industry, Miller wanted to pursue advanced degrees that would allow him the flexibility of studying cropping systems while also pursuing a specialized course of study. UNL offered the benefits Miller sought. He is currently a student in the Doctor of Plant Health (DPH) program and pursuing a doctorate in plant pathology. Miller’s PhD advisor is Loren Giesler, professor in the UNL Department of Plant Pathology and his DPH advisor is Gary Hein, DPH director.

For more information or assistance, please contact Allan Vyhnalek, Extension Educator, Nebraska Extension in Platte County.  Phone: 402-563-4901 or e-mail avyhnalek2@unl.edu