Field Crop Scout School Planned at Southeast Research and Demonstration Farm

Learn more about crop scouting, growth and staging, and pest indentification

March 26, 2024, 8:30 am | Rebecca Vittetoe

CRAWFORDSVILLE, Iowa – Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will offer a Field Crop Scout School May 16 at the Southeast Research and Demonstration Farm near Crawfordsville.  

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 crop scouts.

Topics covered include: Students studying agronomy.

  • Crop scouting tips and tricks – Virgil Schmitt, extension field agronomist.
  • Corn and soybean growth and development and staging – Mark Licht, associate professor in agronomy and extension cropping systems specialist.
  • Crops disease identification – Alison Robertson, professor in plant pathology and microbiology and extension specialist at Iowa State.
  • Weed identification – Terry Basol, extension field agronomist.
  • Insect pest identification – Ashley Dean, education extension specialist in entomology with ISU Extension and Outreach.
  • Other crop issues and challenges (nutrient deficiencies, herbicide injury, etc.) – Clarabell Probasco and Rebecca Vittetoe, extension field agronomists
  • Hands-on practice out in the field –Clarabell Probasco, Virgil Schmitt and Rebecca Vittetoe, extension field agronomists.

“This Field Crop Scout School is a great opportunity to those wanting to refresh their knowledge and skills, as well as for those new to crop scouting,” said Rebecca Vittetoe, field agronomist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “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: Students studying agronomy.

  • 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.
  • Corn and Soybean Field Guide. Includes updated text and images, illustrations, diagrams and tables to assist with identifying corn and soybean diseases, insects and disorders found throughout the Midwest. This 236-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 $150 includes the above printed and digital publications, lunch and refreshments. Registration for the course closes May 10 and the course is limited to 60 students.

The Field Crop Scout School will be held at Iowa State’s Southeast Research and Demonstration Farm, 3115 Louisa-Washington Road, Crawfordsville. Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m., with the program running from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information and to register, visit

Shareable photos: 1. Past field crop scout participants doing stand counts during a field session. 2. Past field crop scout participants identifying weeds.

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