Conventional soybean weed management and transgenic herbicide-tolerant management were examined to assess their effects on soybean insect pest populations in south Georgia in 1997 and 1998. Soybean variety had very little impact on the insect species observed, except that maturity group effects were observed for stink bug, primarily Nezara viridula (L.), population densities on some sampling dates. Stink bugs were more abundant on the early maturing varieties in mid-season. Velvetbean caterpillar, Anticarsia gemmatalis Hübner, potato leafhopper, Empoasca fabae (Harris), and grasshoppers Melanoplus spp. were more numerous on either conventional or herbicide-tolerant varieties on certain dates, although these differences were not consistent throughout the season. Soybean looper, Pseudoplusia includens (Walker), threecornered alfalfa hopper, Spissistilus festinus (Say), and whitefringed beetles, Graphognathus spp., demonstrated no varietal preference in this study. Few weed treatment differences were observed, but if present on certain sampling dates, then pest numbers were higher in plots where weeds were reduced (either postemergence herbicides or preplant herbicide plus postemergence herbicide). The exception to this weed treatment effect was grasshoppers, which were more numerous in weedy plots when differences were present. In postemergence herbicide plots, there were no differences in insect pest densities between the conventional herbicides (e.g., Classic, Select, Cobra, and Storm) compared with specific gene-inserted herbicide-tolerant materials (i.e., Roundup and Liberty). Defoliation, primarily by velvetbean caterpillar, was different between soybean varieties at some test sites but not different between herbicide treatments. We did not observe differences in seasonal abundance of arthropod pests between conventional and transgenic herbicide-tolerant soybean.
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Vol. 96 • No. 3