This page includes information specific to the southern soybean production region. See also the northern region soybean page.
Insect pest risk
|High risk||Reduced risk||Low risk|
|Pod sucking bugs |
- Sequential plantings of soybean (pod sucking bug populations move progressively from early to late plantings, eventually building to very high levels).
- Water stressed plants (set fewer pods and suffer greater % seed damage).
|Late soybean plantings (greater risk of podsucking bugs).|
|Slugs and snails|
- Annual rainfall >500 mm
- Above average spring–autumn rainfall
- No-till stubble retained
- Previous paddock history of slugs and snails
- Summer volunteers and weeds
- No sheep in enterprise
- 450-500 mm annual rainfall
- Tillage or burnt stubble only
- Sheep on stubble
- <450 mm annual rainfall
- Tillage and burnt stubble
- No volunteers and weeds
- Soybean close to lucerne increases the risk of early infestations of lucerne crown borer.
- Use of non selective pesticides in the vegetative stages, especially synthetic pyrethroids, may flare Helicoverpa
- Early spraying for podsucking bugs with synthetic pyrethroids at flowering flares mites and Helicoverpa
- Low plant density (increased risk of lodging if infested with lucerne crown borer)
- Water-stressed plants
- greater risk of terminal damage by Helicoverpa and grass blue butterfly larvae
- more attractive to soybean moth
|Planting close to trees (more attractive to soybean moth)|
|Slugs and snails*||Damaging|| Damaging|
|Aphids|| Damaging|| Damaging|| Damaging|
|Native budworm (H. punctigera)|| Damaging|| Damaging|| Damaging|| Damaging|
|Grass blue butterfly|| Damaging|| Damaging|| Damaging|| Damaging|
|Lucerne crown borer|| Damaging||Present||Present|| Damaging|
|Mites|| Present|| Damaging|| Damaging|| Damaging|
|Soybean moth|| Damaging|| Damaging|| Damaging|
|Podsucking bugs|| Present|| Damaging|| Damaging|
* Snails may also cause grain contamination at harvest
|Present||Present in crop but generally not damaging|
|Damaging||Crop susceptible to damage and loss.|
Soybean crops can be attacked by pests at any stage from seedling to close to harvest. Soybean leaves are more attractive to foliage-feeding pests than the leaves of other summer pulses. The crop becomes attractive to a greater range of pests from flowering onwards.
Key IPM strategies
- Tolerate early damage. Minimise early season sprays to conserve beneficials.
- Selective insecticides – Use biopesticides in vegetative soybeans prior to flowering to preserve beneficials:
- Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is effective against loopers (under 12 mm)
- NPV is effective agains Helicoverpa larvae (less than 7 mm long).
- Consider the use of spray oils where aphid populations are low to moderate.
- Use soft options that are pest-specific (e.g. pirimicarb is an aphid-specific product and softer on beneficial species than broad spectrum insecticides).
- Controlling aphids with broad spectrum chemicals in the vegetative stage can flare aphids, mites, and Helicoverpa during subsequent crop stages.
- Pests such as aphids often infest the edge of a field, not the entire field. Limiting spraying to borders where these pests occur enables the beneficial population to re-establish faster.