Iowa High School students are urged to enter a team representing their school in the 2014 Crop Scouting Competition, a fun and interesting learning opportunity conducted by Iowa State University's Integrated Pest Management Program. This is the fourth annual Crop Scouting Competition for Iowa youth. This year's contest will be held in central Iowa on August 5 and teams need to register by June 15.
The theme for this year is "Crop Scouting Innovations" and the activities will include both indoor and outdoor events. Teams of high school students (those completing grades 9 to 12) from across Iowa are welcome to register and compete, says Adam Sisson, an ISU Extension and Outreach IPM specialist. Sisson and Daren Mueller, an ISU Extension plant pathologist, coordinate the annual competition.
The purpose of the competition is to provide students an opportunity to learn crop scouting and principles of integrated pest management, or IPM, for corn and soybean crops in Iowa, to obtain knowledge and skills that will be helpful in future careers and to demonstrate newer crop scouting technologies.
Schools, clubs or other organizations may enter a team composed of three or four participants. An adult team leader must accompany each team of students. Past team leaders have been FFA or ag teachers, seed dealers, co-op employees and others.
Top-scoring teams win prizes: $500 for first, $300 for second, $150 for third, $50 for fourth.
Teams will be expected to know the basics of scouting corn and soybean fields. This includes crop staging; looking for patterns of crop injury; disease, insect and weed seedling identification; etc. Other topics may include, but are not limited to, pesticide safety, nutrient disorders and herbicide injury.
More information about the crop scouting competition and instructions on how to register a team are available online. Teams must be registered by June 15. Registration is $50 per team; the fee will be refunded when the team attends the competition. Payment by check is due along with the registration form by June 15.
Sponsors include DuPont Pioneer, the Iowa Soybean Association, and Iowa Independent Crop Consultants Association. Adam Sisson is an Integrated Pest Management extension specialist. He can be reached at [email protected] or 515- 294-5899. Daren Mueller is an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology. He can be reached at 515-460-8000 or email [email protected].