By Janet McConnaughey/The Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS — Warm winter weather led to stink bugs showing up earlier than usual this year — bad news for soybean farmers because redbanded stink bugs can destroy entire fields if left unchecked.
The threat comes as high prices and drier weather prompted Louisiana and Mississippi farmers to boost soybean acreage from last year.
Insecticides are the main restraint against the stinkbugs. LSU AgCenter entomologist Jeff Davis says farmers probably will have to spray more than usual this year. He says the AgCenter usually recommends three to five applications for soybeans, and Louisiana farmers likely will need five this year.
Mississippi usually plants more soybeans than Louisiana, and this year is no exception. Louisiana farmers have put in about 1.14 million acres compared to 2.13 million in Mississippi.