Do those soybean leaves have frogeye leaf spot or herbicide injury? Is that Palmer amaranth or common waterhemp growing near the field entrance? Are two-spotted spider mites or soybean sudden death syndrome causing the yellow patches at the Peterson farm?
These can be tough problems to solve. But crop scouting, along with knowing what questions to ask and clues to look for, can help determine the right answers. To provide students an opportunity to learn crop-scouting skills and integrated pest management basics, Iowa State University Extension is hosting a Crop Scouting Competition for Iowa Youth on Tuesday, August 4. If you wish to compete, you need to put together a team and register by June 15.
Providing students an opportunity to learn crop-scouting skills
Teams of Iowa high school students (those completing grades 9-12 in the 2015-16 school year) are invited to compete. It's a fun, learning experience, say those who've participated in this contest in previous years.
One of the strengths of the competition is that it involves teams working at outdoor field stations in corn and soybean plots run by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach faculty and staff. Student teams get outside the classroom, apply their skills and learn directly from Extension and other professionals. Students learn the basics of crop scouting which will help prepare them for farm production and agronomy-related careers. To watch the 2015 Scouting Competition prom9otional video, go to http://www/youtube.com.
LOOKING AND LEARNING: Scouting a cornfield during the competition last year, this student was looking for signs of corn borer infestation and other insects.
"Getting students excited about making good pest management decisions using crop scouting techniques, and saving money in making crop protection decisions, sets a great base for their education and for Iowa's agriculture businesses in the future," says Daren Mueller, integrated pest management program director and Extension plant pathologist at Iowa State University.
Competition format will be 12 stations on a variety of topics including:
•Corn and soybean diseases
•Corn and soybean insects
•Corn and soybean growth stages
•Estimating corn yield
•Adequate field assessment (e.g., scouting patterns)
•Noninfectious crop disorders
Schools, clubs or other organizations may enter a team composed of three to five participants. An adult team leader must accompany each team of students. Past team leaders have included Future Farmers of America or ag teachers, seed dealers and co-op employees. Top scoring teams win prizes: $500 for first place, $300 for second, $150 for third and $50 for fourth place.
Teams finishing in top four places win cash prizes
More information about the crop scouting competition and instructions on how to register a team are available online at ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/cropscouting. Teams must be registered by June 15. Registration is $50 per team; the fee will be refunded when the team attends the competition. Registration forms and payment by check is due by June 15.
"Our class will be returning to the competition," says Joe Shirbroun, a DuPont Pioneer seed dealer and farmer from Farmersburg in northeast Iowa. He is the adult leader for the high school student team from Clayton County. "They loved this competition last year and I truly enjoyed the day. I was proud of the team I had. I told them I wanted them to get some really good experience in learning crop scouting techniques and gaining knowledge and have fun doing it."Event sponsors include DuPont Pioneer, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Certified Crop Advisors and Iowa Independent Crop Consultants Association.