By Jody Korthaus
Six Iowa teams participated in the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program’s seventh annual Iowa Crop Scouting Competition on July 31. This year’s contest was held at ISU’s Field Extension Education Lab at Boone in central Iowa.
The teams, consisting of Iowa youth, grades 9-12, were tested on their knowledge of crop insects and diseases, growth and development, weed identification, crop disorders, herbicide injury, and pesticide spraying. Teams took a written test and then rotated through eight field stations run by ISU Extension specialists at the Field Extension Lab. The overall goal of the competition is for youth to learn from and interact with ISU Extension specialists, and gain more knowledge about IPM and scouting methods.
Contest improves crop scouting knowledge
“One of the best parts about the Iowa Crop Scouting Competition and the Regional Crop Scouting Competition is the kids are actually learning during the contest,” says Adam Sisson, IPM program specialist with ISU Extension. “They will walk away with trophies and prizes, but also walk away with more knowledge about crop scouting and an increased knowledge of ISU Extension.”
The first-place overall winning team at this year’s Iowa State Crop Scouting Competition is Kuhlman Seed, consisting of Hannah Holdsworth, Emily Boettger, Brady Fredericks and Connor Garrett from Denison in western Iowa. Participants of Clayton County Team 1 (Ted Hilgerson, Andrey Shirbroun, Cole Deitchler, Matt Whittle and Max Gibson) earned second place. Members of Clayton County 2 (Cassidy Penrod, Jon Whittle, Tom Whittle, Laci Orr and Mia Gibson) earned third place. Caleb Geer and Hudson Geer from Monroe in central Iowa secured fourth place for their team, Geer Seed.
Top 2 teams going to regionals
The top two teams have the opportunity to compete at the Regional Crop Scouting Competition, and take on the top two overall winning teams from the University Nebraska-Lincoln Crop Scouting Competition and the top two teams from the Purdue University Crop Scouting Competition. Iowa’s winning teams, Kuhlman Seed and Clayton County Team 1, will compete in this year’s regional contest Aug. 28 at the Crop Diagnostic Training and Research Center in Lafayette, Ind.
Last year, Iowa’s teams won first and second at the 2016 Regional Crop Scouting Competition held at Boone, Iowa.
“The competition is a great way to connect education to our industry,” says Joe Shirbroun, a team leader with his wife, Suzanne, from Clayton County. “Over the last seven years we’ve had several students on our team realize this is something they have a passion for and decide to pursue in college.”
Related links lead you to more information:
• Integrated Pest Management website
• Integrated Pest Information Platform for Education and Extension
• Video: 2017 Crop Scouting Competition Recap
Jody Korthaus is a communications specialist with the Iowa State University Integrated Pest Management program.