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Research on Woodland Management and Soybean Aphid: Cooperating Growers Needed

by Marcella Windmuller-Campione (Assistant Professor, Dept. of Forest Resources) and Robert Koch (Assistant Professor, Dept. of Entomology)

Looking for soybean growers in central and southern Minnesota to participate in a research study on soybean aphid population levels and buckthorn density in 2018

While there are several options for managing the destructive soybean aphid, including insecticides
and aphid-resistant soybean varieties, these options focus solely on the soybean field. However, it is very likely that buckthorn is lurking (and reproducing!) in your woodland or an adjacent publicly own forest, proving the required overwintering habitat for soybean aphid. Research in Ontario, as well as in Minnesota, has observed the relationship between proximity of buckthorn and early season
soybean aphid population levels. What has been little explored is if this relationship varies with buckthorn density – Does higher density buckthorn result in higher early season soybean aphid populations? If so, are there management techniques that we can implement to reduce buckthorn density, which could possibly reduce soybean aphid populations, thus improving quality and yield for soybean growers?  These questions require an interdisciplinary approach, bringing together research
faculty, Extension educators, and soybean growers with expertise in forestry, entomology, and agriculture.
Image of European buckthorn, which is the overwintering host for soybean aphid
(photo credit: Paul Wray, Iowa State Univ.,
Do you have a soybean field adjacent to a woodland in central or southern Minnesota?... 

We are looking for soybean growers in central and southern Minnesota who have 10 or more acres of woodlands or forests that they own and/or are publicly owned and adjacent to their soybean field. Our request is for cooperators to allow field crews from the U of MN to sample in both the woodland and the soybean fields. Field crews will set-up forest inventory plots in the woodlands to gain information on the overstory, regenerating seedlings and saplings, and buckthorn density once during the summer growing season. This information will be shared with the landowner. Field crews will use transects to sample soybean aphid populations 2 to 3 times during the growing season to quantify how soybean aphid levels change. This information will be used to test the relationships between buckthorn density, buckthorn proximity, and soybean aphid populations through the growing season.

If you are interested and/or would like additional information on participating in this study please contact Dr. Marcella Windmuller-Campione at 612-624-3699 (office) or 847-772-5458 (cell) or by email ( or website (

We are planning to begin early season sampling in June.
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