The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Integrated Pest Management program will host the ninth annual Crop Scouting Competition for Iowa Youth, July 29 at the Field Extension Education Laboratory in Boone. The goal of the event is to provide Iowa youth an opportunity to learn about crop scouting and principles of IPM, and gain skills used in agriculture and environmental sciences careers.
Crop scouting and IPM are tools farmers use to increase economic returns while reducing unintended environmental impacts. Equipping future farmers and agronomists with crop scouting skills and basic IPM concepts helps the next generation of farm decision makers with crop production and land stewardship.
Students in grades 7-12 are invited to put their crop scouting skills to the test while competing against other Iowa youth teams in outdoor hands-on activities. Youth will learn as they interact with Iowa State University faculty, staff and extension specialists. At the competition, each team's crop knowledge will be tested at topic-specific field stations and with a written exam. The top four teams, based on points accrued from the field stations and exam, are eligible to win cash prizes. All participants will receive a free event t-shirt. The top two teams will be invited to the regional competition Aug. 26 in Iowa.
“The crop scouting competition is an excellent opportunity for Iowa youth to learn integrated pest management principles from university and industry experts,” said Maya Hayslett, crop sciences youth extension specialist.
Last year, student participants reported an increased interest in agriculture-related careers because of the event. Each student reported an increase in knowledge in multiple crop-related disciplines including entomology, plant pathology, crop staging and morphology, herbicide issues and crop disorders.
ISU Extension and Outreach has various resources such as field guides, publications and presentations to help each team prepare for the event. Teams will be expected to know the basics of IPM and scouting corn and soybean fields. Recommended pest-management materials are described in an Integrated Crop Management blog post; related publications are available on the Extension Store (https://store.extension.iastate.edu/Topic/Crops).
This year’s sponsors include Corteva, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Independent Crop Consultants Association, ScoutPro, Iowa Certified Crop Advisors and Environmental Tillage Systems.