Field Crop Scout School is May 19 in Cedar Rapids

Learn to scout pest and weed issues in Iowa's crops

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will offer a Field Crop Scout School May 19, at Kirkwood in Cedar Rapids.

The Field Crop Scout School is intended to be a foundational course, providing essential information for effective and efficient crop scouting.

The program features sessions such as corn and soybean growth and development, pest identification and scouting methods for beginning crop scouts. All speakers are part of ISU Extension and Outreach.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Crop scouting tips and tricks – Virgil Schmitt, extension field agronomist.
  • Corn and soybean growth and development and staging – Mark Licht, assistant professor of agronomy and cropping systems specialist.
  • Crops disease identification – Alison Robertson, professor of plant pathology and extension plant pathologist.
  • Weed identification – Meaghan Anderson, extension field agronomist.
  • Insect pest identification – Erin Hodgson, professor of entomology and extension entomologist.
  • Other crop issues and challenges (nutrient deficiencies, herbicide injury, etc.) – Virgil Schmitt and Rebecca Vittetoe, extension field agronomists.
  • Hands-on practice out in the field – Terry Basol, Josh Michel, Clarabell Probasco, Virgil Schmitt and Rebecca Vittetoe, extension field agronomists

“This Field Crop Scout School is a great opportunity for those wanting to refresh their knowledge and skills, as well as for those new to crop scouting,” said Rebecca Vittetoe. “The educational sessions, hands-on practice out in the field and field guide publications make this an exceptional value for those looking to increase their toolbox of resources to be better growers or crop scouts.”

The following publications and resources are included with registration to the Field Crop Scout School:  

  • Soybean Diseases and Corn Diseases booklets: a combined 88-page compendium of soybean and corn diseases in Iowa and the greater north central region, in full color. Each guide is complete with disease life cycles and diagrams, as well as foliar disease estimation charts.
  • Field Crop Insects: contains descriptions and color images of more than 55 pest and beneficial insects, as well as information on insect life cycle, damage, scouting and management options. There is also information on basic entomology and integrated pest management tactics.
  • Early, mid and late season corn and soybean scouting cards: These scouting cards are record keeping tools that outline diseases, insects and disorders that occur to corn and soybean plants during the early, mid and late parts of the growing season.
  • A digital Corn and Soybean Field Guide: includes updated text and 375 images, illustrations, diagrams and tables to assist farmers with identifying corn and soybean diseases, insects and disorders found throughout the Midwest. This 158-page guide focuses on development stages, pesticide decisions and production-related topics to help you when scouting fields this summer.
  • A digital Weed Identification Field Guide 2nd Edition: contains 35 illustrations and more than 250 high-quality photographs of weeds found in Iowa. Palmer amaranth information was added to this 108-page field guide, and information on herbicide resistance and management was updated from the first edition.

Advance registration is required. The cost of $100 includes above printed and digital publications, lunch and refreshments. Registration for the course closes May 12, and the course is limited to 70 students.

The Field Crop Scout School will be held at the Kirkwood Community College Horticulture Building (6301 Kirkwood Blvd. SW) in Cedar Rapids. Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m., with the program running from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information and to register, visit Contact Agriculture and Natural Resources Program Services at 515-294-6429 or


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