Crop Disease, Insect Identification and Record Keeping Available in New App

AMES, Iowa – Checking crops for insects and disease is becoming less tedious and cumbersome, and more accurate with the release of iPad apps. Apps focusing on two crops – corn and soybean – have been released by ScoutPro, a provider of agricultural apps founded by Michael Koenig in 2011, while studying at Iowa State University. The first two apps for the iPad hit the App Store in March 2012; this month an Iowa version of ScoutPro Soy was made available.

ScoutPro appThe 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 Iowa State University field guides and funded in part by 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,” said 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.”

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 information to our producers,” says ISA President Dean Coleman. “As more farmers carry smartphones, it makes sense we offer this type of tool that, not only has pest ID, but also 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 will continue to monitor information contained on the Iowa-specific app. While other crop identification programs are being developed, Koenig said 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 said.

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.

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