The ScoutPro apps retail at $29.99 each, a cost that reflects high-end features: detailed identification tools, automatic record keeping and GPS mapping, and field-specific reports. The identification program is based on information from Iowa State University Extension's field guides and it is funded in part by the Iowa Soybean Association.
"The scouting apps will not only help farmers identify common problems in their fields, they will help farmers keep track of these problems and that will help with future management decisions," says Daren Mueller, plant pathologist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. "Apps like this are extremely valuable, especially as they are used more and more."
Crop scouting apps also great way to keep records of what's happening in fields
ScoutPro apps can be used by smartphones, iPad or other tablet devices. Users will be able to identify weeds, insects and diseases in fields, while creating crop scouting reports they can use when making management decisions.
"As a board, we are always looking for new ways to bring useful information to our producers," says ISA president Dean Coleman, a farmer from Humboldt in north-central Iowa. "As more farmers carry smartphones, it makes sense we offer this type of tool that, not only because it has pest ID, but also because it has the ability to record its location for future reference."
As ScoutPro expands into new regions, pests outside of Iowa will be added to their general app. Iowa State University will continue to monitor information contained on the Iowa-specific app. While other crop identification programs are being developed, Koenig says none of them include all the functions that ScoutPro offers: mapping, identification and record-keeping. "Our goal is to set the standard for how scouting can be done using apps," Koenig says.
To reach that goal, Koenig continues to add ScoutPro services. A paid Web service, currently available to consultants, offers additional record-keeping tools to help with decision-making. Plans are to have a Web service for farmers in place for the 2013 growing season.