Iowa farmers and crop advisers are scouting corn and soybean fields with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach field guides in hand. The guides outline integrated pest management information -- how to protect crops based on data from specific fields, using both preventative and curative tactics to manage insects, diseases and weeds. They place an emphasis on scouting and thorough record keeping and they are in high demand.
"Crop scouting is a cornerstone of integrated pest management," says Daren Mueller, Extension plant pathologist with the Iowa State University Integrated Pest Management program. "Scouting entails accurately estimating crop plant health, recognizing growth stage, and identifying crop injury and associated causes – the field guides improve scouting accuracy."
ISU Extension, in conjunction with the Iowa Soybean Association, created the first weather-resistant pocket guide, the "Soybean Field Guide", with high quality images and descriptions of disease, insect and other disorders so it could easily go to the field. The guide serves as a reference for farmers and crop advisers scouting fields and assists them in accurately diagnosing crop problems.
Requests for ISU integrated pest management publications show their popularity
The "Soybean Field Guide" was first sold through the ISU Extension online store on Feb. 22, 2008. In five years, that single publication has become part of a growing Integrated Pest Management publication series that now includes five field guides, three compendiums and twelve scouting cards. More than one million copies (1,094,000) of the publications have been printed, 53% (581,000) of them by Iowa State University and 47% (513,000) printed upon request and distributed by outside entities such as agribusiness, academic institutions and commodity groups.
ISU's Extension Online Store has distributed the publications to all 99 Iowa counties, 375 Iowa cities, and 49 U.S. states (Rhode Island is the only state with no publication orders). The popularity of the guides has expanded well beyond Iowa – nearly 28% are delivered outside of Iowa and guides have been distributed internationally to 23 countries on five continents. The "Soybean Field Guide" has been adapted for use in Canada by Canadian soybean experts.
Field guides and scouting publications available from ISU Extension Online Store
ISU IPM team members authoring the publications are Extension faculty, researchers, specialists and other staff. "The publications are the result of the work of more than 25 authors," Mueller says. "This group of scientists is dedicated to integrated pest management education. We have a broad portfolio of activities and products to support our educational efforts -- this series of publications is only one part."
The team plans to add more publications, including: :Alfalfa Field Guide, Corn Field Guide 2nd Edition", "Hail and Nutrient Deficiency Scouting Cards", and an update to "Corn Diseases". To learn more about the ISU Extension Integrated Pest Management educational offerings visit this link; to order field guides visit the Extension Online Store and click on the Integrated Pest Management publications image.