History of Soybean Plant Protection from Diseases, Insects, Nematodes and Weeds (15 BCE to 2019)

William Shurtleff, Akiko AoyagiISBN: 978-1-948436-08-3

Publication Date: 2019 April 26

Number of References in Bibliography: 3663

Earliest Reference: 15 BCE

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Brief Chronology/Timeline of Soybean Plant Protection

Soybeans have been grown since ancient times in Japan and Manchuria, but mainly in the northern parts of those countries, which have severely cold winters that prevent the buildup of pests.

15 BCE – The Jiaoshi Yilin in China mentions both shu and dou as names of the soybean and states that the leaves and the beans (dou) were readily eaten by deer and rabbits.

82 CE – The Lunheng, by Wang Chong, states that soybeans (dou) are not bothered by insects.

1855 Nov. 25 – Frederick Munch of Missouri, in a letter to the patent office, writes: “The Japan pea [soybean] is one of the finest looking vegetables in the garden, grows prolific [sic], bears well, is not injured by insects, & requires but moderate attention…”

1876 Feb. 26 – Friedrich Haberlandt in Vienna, Austria, writes: the soybean does not have to fear any enemy at all from the insect world because it withstood even the attacks by the spider mite (Webermilbe) (Tetranychus telarius) to which the majority of the varieties of green beans that were planted in the trial gardens were subjected,… He is also the first to use a scientific name for an enemy of the soybean.

1882 – In Germany, A.B. Frank is the first to describe root galls (Anguillula radicicola Greef) on soybean roots.

1895 – O. Kirchner in Germany first uses the genus name Heterodera for the name of the organism that causes these root nodules.

1898 April 15 – The earliest known document about soybean protection in Japan is An Insect Injurious to Soybeans, written by Shônen Matsumura in Japanese.

1899 – J.F. Duggar at the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station is the first to mention “rootknot” or “nematodes” in English or in the United States.

1908 – The American Phytopathological Society is founded. They specialize in the study of plant diseases.

1920 – Rabbits are the most troublesome enemies/pests of soybeans in the United States. They are very fond of soybeans and “have been known to destroy considerable areas” (Piper & Morse 1923, p. 288).

Piper & Morse (1923, p. 280-81) also cite eight scattered reports on bacterial diseases on soybeans in the USA between 1906 and 1921.

Four reports of “Mosaic [virus] diseases (1915-1921).

Numerous reports of fungous diseases, including Fusarium disease, Rhizoctonia and Sclerotium rolfsii, Phoma disease, Septoria disease, Anthracnose, and Rot (1917-1920).

Two reports of nematode disease: rootknot and yellow dwarf (in Japan) (1919).

1942-44 – The first important herbicide was 2,4-D, discovered and developed at this time.

1940s – Organic pesticides start to be used. "The number of herbicides in general use in the United States and Canada increased from 15 in 1940 to 25 in 1950, and to 100 in 1969” (Weed Science, 1970, March p. 294-307).

1951 – The journal Weeds begins publication.

1951 – “Bibliography of soybean diseases” [1882-1950, annotated], by Lee Ling is published – a pioneering work.

1954 – The soybean cyst nematode is identified in southeastern North Carolina (Soybean News. 1984. Jan. p. 5, 4).

1955 – Fifty diseases now infect the soybean crop in the United States (Kreitlow 1955, p. 8-9). The soybean is a broadleaf plant, so broadleaf herbicides tend to kill the soybean as well.

1956 – Edgar Hartwig, a USDA plant breeder in Stoneville, Mississippi, begins to search for sources of resistance to soybean cyst nematodes (Soybean News. 1984. Jan. p. 5, 4).

1956 – The first meeting of the Weed Society of America is held. It was later renamed the Weed Science Society of America.

1959 Oct. – An early article “The integrated control concept,” by Stern, Smith, Van den Bosch et al. is published in Hilgardia (California Agric. Exp. Station). Integrated control uses natural enemies of pests, whenever possible, and tries to keep to keep use of toxic pesticides to a minimum.

1962 Sept. – Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson is published. She warns of the dangers of overuse of chemical/organic pesticides, especially DDT. This book helped to start the modern environmental movement.

1963 March – The earliest document seed that mentions Treflan (a brand name for trifluralan) is an ad by Elanco Products Co. in Soybean Digest (p. 16). Treflan is a pre-emergence herbicide that kills annual grasses.

1967. The journal Weeds is renamed Weed Science.

1972 – SIRIC, the computerized bibliographic database of the Soybean Insect Research Information Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana, first becomes available for use in computerized form. It was developed by Jenny and Marcos Kogan and co-workers.

Associated with the database is ISAC (also called IRCSA), the International Soybean Arthropod Collection, which in Oct. 1986 contained about 5,000 taxa (specimens).

Both were organized in 1969 and are housed with the Illinois Natural History Survey (INTSOY Newsletter. 1979. Aug. p. 1-2).

1973 – The Southern Soybean Disease Workers is organized. Weed control is harder in the southern U.S., which is warm and damp, than in the upper Midwest.

1975 Dec.An Annotated Bibliography of Soybean Diseases 1882-1974, by J.B. Sinclair and O.D. Dhingra published as INTSOY Series No. 7 (280 p., 2,263 refs).

1975Compendium of Soybean Diseases, by J.B. Sinclair and M.C. Shurtleff published by the American Phytopathological Society (69 p., 199 refs).

1976 – Monsanto launches Roundup® herbicide which goes on to become a best-seller worldwide.

1977 Nov. – Rust of Soybean: The Problem and Research Needs, by R.E. Ford and J.B. Sinclair published as INTSOY Series No. 12 (110 p., 167 refs).

1982 Feb.Soybean Digest 1982 Pest Control Guide published (p. 47N-62N) as a special section in Soybean Digest.

1987 May – In Soybeans, Improvement, Production, and Uses, 2nd ed., edited by J.R. Wilcox and published by the American Society of Agronomy (xxii, 888 p.) there are excellent chapters on “Fungal Diseases” (p. 687-727, 203 refs), “Weed Control” (p. 429-60; 91 refs), “Nematodes” (p. 757-78, 145 refs), “Viral and Bacterial Diseases” (p. 729-55, 112 refs), and “Integrated Control of Insect Pests” (p. 779-817, 175 refs).

1988 Nov.World Bibliography of Soybean Entomology, 2 vols., compiled by Jenny & Marcos Kogan et al. is published (5,096 refs).

1996 spring – Monsanto introduces its first biotech crop, Roundup Ready® soybeans, which are first planted commercially in the United States. They have been genetically modified so that the soybean plants are resistant to Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup® (a formulated product with glyphosate as its main ingredient).

2004 Nov. 6 – Asian Soybean rust first arrives in the United States at two research sites in Louisiana, near Baton Rouge. The sites were associated with a Louisiana State University research farm. The wind-borne spores of Phakopsora pachyrhizi were probably carried from South America by one of this year’s many hurricanes. Fortunately, most of the U.S. soybean crop had already been harvested (USDA news release, Nov. 10; The News-Star, Monroe, Louisiana, Nov. 11, p. 1).

2005 Feb.Food, Inc.: Mendel to Monsanto The Promise and Perils of the Biotech Harvest, by Peter Pringle is published by Simon & Schuster. The best, fairest, most balanced, well-researched and well-written book we have seen to date on this complex, highly polarized subject. First published in 2003, then updated.

2010 May – Farmer’s wide use of Roundup®, primarily glyphosate, has led to the spread of “Superweeds” which are resistant to Roundup. At least 10 species of Roundup-resistant weeds have infested millions of acres in 22 states since 2000. Farmers are on an herbicide treadmill. One of the worst weeds is pigweed (also called Palmer amaranth). It can grow three inches a day and reach 7 feet or more. One of these weeds can scatter 300,000 or more herbicide-resistant seeds at harvest; it can even damage harvesting equipment (New York Times, “Rise of the Superweeds.” 2010. May 4, p. B1, B5; Corn and Soybean Digest. 2012. Feb. p. 4).

2010 The World According to Monsanto: Pollution, Corruption, and the Control of our Food Supply. An Investigation of the World's Most Controversial Company, by Robin Marie-Monique, published by The New Press. Translated from the French by George Holoch.

2017 Nov. – Whitewash: the Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer and the Corruption of Science, by Carey Gillam, published. This book focuses on Roundup (a formulated product based on glyphosate) as a possible cause of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), a type of cancer that forms in the body's lymphatic system.

2018 Aug. 3 – “Monsanto ordered to pay $289m as jury rules weedkiller caused man's cancer: court finds in favor of Dewayne Johnson, first person to take Roundup maker to trial” (The Guardian. 2018. Aug. 11. Online).

Note: On Oct. 22, despite strong opposition from the jury, the judge reduced the jury's award of $289 million to $78 million, to be paid to Johnson. The jury's verdict was unanimous. Johnson was using a concentrated form of Roundup called Ranger Pro.

Bayer, which purchased Monsanto in Sept. 2016, says it will appeal the case, arguing that Johnson had not used the herbicide correctly, according to written instructions.

The essence of the disagreement seems to be that Bayer argues that glyphosate is safe, whereas the judge ruled that Roundup (a formulated product with glyphosate as its main ingredient) can cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Click here to download the full text to open and read book History of Soybean Plant Protection from Diseases, Insects, Nematodes and Weeds (15 BCE to 2019)