Winning soybean yield contests is a common occurrence in recent years for Eastover, S.C., grower Jason Carter.

But winning last year’s contest with a rare and new-to-South Carolina insect handicap was an adventure he doesn’t want to try again.

Carter says he found the rare Dectes stem borer in his soybeans and finding out what was killing his beans proved to be about as frustrating as dealing with the problem.

“Our soybean crop looked outstanding from the start last year, and I was expecting to harvest 70-80 bushels per acre under irrigation and 60-70 dryland,” Carter says.

“Based on the season we were having and past production levels, those kinds of yields seemed reasonable,” he adds.

Carter has won the state soybean yield championship several times in his 17-year farming history, but says winning the yield contest in the irrigated category, with the problems he had with Dectes stem borers, was unexpected.

“Last year our dryland beans out-yielded our irrigated beans, and most of that was because of the problem we had with Dectes borers,” Carter says.

“The soybean crop looked so good last year, then I started seeing spots in the field that didn’t look right. At first I thought it was a nematode problem, but soil samples came back clean. Once we identified the problem, it was too late to do anything about it.”

Literally, no one knew the source of his problems. “I had my insecticide dealer come look at my beans, and Clemson Extension personnel, and finally Jess Easterling, a Monsanto sales representative from South Carolina, brought Mike Baker, a Monsanto Agronomist from North Carolina out to my farm, and they identified the stem borers,” Carter says.