Studies done in Brazilian soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merril, in the 1970s suggested the redbanded stink bug, Piezodorus guildinii (Westwood), is principally responsible for delayed maturity in this crop. This stink bug species has recently emerged as a serious pest of soybean in the southern United States, where little is known about its association with the occurrence of delayed maturity disorder. Also, the mechanism behind stink bug-induced soybean delayed maturity remains unknown. It is believed that stink bug feeding during pod development stages results in reduced pod-seed load, causing alteration of source—sink ratio and eventually delayed maturity. To determine the P. guildinii threshold triggering delayed maturity in soybean, experiments were conducted with varying levels of P. guildinii infestation (0, 2, 4, and 8 adults per 0.3 m) during the R4 to R5 soybean growth stages. In addition, to determine if soybean delayed maturity is exclusively because of reduced pod load, experiments with different levels of mechanical pod removal (0, 25, 50, and 75%) were conducted on field-grown soybeans. P. guildinii densities up to 4 adults per 0.3 m did not trigger occurrence of delayed maturity. However, a density of 8 adults per 0.3 m produced a significant increase in the number of green leaves retained on plants at maturity (i.e., delayed maturity). There was no effect of mechanical pod removal on green leaf retention. The lack of a significant positive correlation between mechanical pod removal and green leaf retention indicates the involvement of mechanism(s) other than reduced pod load in the occurrence of soybean delayed maturity.
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Vol. 108 • No. 4