Scouting Picking Up Steam

Scouting In SoybeansWhile we all can agree that weed resistance is a bane modern agriculture must eventually snuff out, it is making crop scouting services more relevant (and profitable for retailers) going forward, according to Betsy Bowers, agronomist at Ceres Solutions.

“­­Glyphosate definitely changed the game of weed scouting,” she says. “Before it was no longer important to identify each weed species, since glyphosate was a non-selective herbicide and controlled the majority of weeds and grasses. Now that we have several weed species that are not as easily controlled with glyphosate, scouting is becoming more important once again.”

Naturally then, Bowers predicts the Terre Haute, IN-based retail outfit will spend the majority of its scouting manpower on the hunt for glyphosate-resistant weeds, among others.

“In 2013 we will be scouting for marestail and waterhemp in early spring, as well as looking at the size and potential stage of cover crops,” says Bowers. “We will especially be on the watch for more fields containing Palmer amaranth in our northern locations, and we will also be on the look out in our central and southern areas. We will also be looking for any potential herbicide carry over from last year.”

Insect scouting will also be critical in Ceres territory, even after last season’s drought likely diminished active populations.

“We are always looking for black cutworm (we set out black cutworm traps each year in conjunction with Purdue) to determine when they may be cutting,” she says. “With increased cover crop use in our area, we will need to be watching for black cutworms and armyworms. We also plan to have our Nutrisolutions interns do some extra scouting to check for the presence of insects or nematodes.”

Western Worries

Out west Frenchman Valley Coop (FVC), Imperial, NE, will be looking for many of the same diseases and pests, plus a few others, according to Tom Gaschler, master agronomist.

“For us, drought management and irrigation scheduling will be important in 2013, and stripe rust is always in the back of our mind in wheat,” he says. “Rootworms will be the primary pest we’re looking for because we would rather see them when they are feeding than in August when corn will start lodging.”

Gaschler also expects an increase in mid-season scouting for drought stress, especially with predicted water shortages out west.

“Because we are in an area with irrigation restrictions and extreme drought there is a lot of interest in mid-season scouting as it pertains to irrigation scheduling in our area,” he says.

Ceres scouts will also be monitoring fields for stressed crops, although Bowers projects less of a need in southern Indiana.

“It is too soon to tell if we will be increasing any mid-season scouting for drought or environmental issues,” she says. “So far this winter we have been receiving precipitation in many parts of our territory. However, we still need to be paying attention to environmental conditions at specific growth stages in corn, soybeans and wheat that may lead to various diseases like head scab in wheat, sudden death syndrome or white mold in soybeans, and grey leaf spot or any of the potential ear diseases in corn.”

Great Bend Coop, Great Bend, KS, is also keeping its eyes peeled for drought stress, according to agronomist Cammie Vaupel.

“Scouting for stress caused by drought will be a big part of the season if we continue to have similar weather conditions as we have seen in the last 2 years,” she says. “However, most producers are having their fields scouted throughout the season anyway, so there really won’t be an increase as far as new customers asking for scouting mid-season just because of a drought.”

Vaupel does predict an increase in pest pressure in its trade area.

“Scouting for alfalfa weevil earlier in the spring has become more important, and weevil larvae control has been a bigger issue in the last three years than it has been in the past.”

New Technologies

Meanwhile, all three retailers confirmed their organization’s increased interest in implementing new mobile technology in their scouting programs.

“In 2011, we started sending 15% of our scouting reports to our clients via e-mail, and last year we were at 86%,” says FVC’s Gaschler. “We’re still looking at using tablets for scouting reports, but our cell phone coverage is limited to a 3G network. As soon as we go to 4G networks we hope to utilize tablets more. Currently we’re using smartphones.”

“Great Bend has recently started using iPads for scouting and writing up customer reports,” adds Vaupel. “We also use WinField’s R7 tool, which uses satellite imagery to estimate yield potential. This tool also offers past year’s images in dry and wet years, so it can be used to identify trouble spots as well as high-yielding areas.”

Ceres’ scouts use a combination of the two, says Bowers.

“We use smartphones to capture specific GPS sampling locations in fields with our Nutrisolutions program, and we are using iPads and smartphones to take pictures of the crop and specific problems,” she says. “We will then incorporate these pictures into a virtual growing season using PowerPoint and share the file with customers using Dropbox file sharing software.

“Thus far, I personally have not found a user-friendly scouting app,” adds Bowers. “I want one that can record what I have found and e-mail a report to a customer. Most want to help you determine the problem, and I typically already know the problem and want to just e-mail the location information and problem to the grower.”

Leave a Reply

Management Stories

Fall Creek Seth Harden The Nature Conservancy
StewardshipLocal Farmers’ Watershed Initiative: Continuous Improvement Is Possible In 5 Key Areas
January 13, 2017
The goal in the Big Pine Watershed Project is to more intentionally do what local farmers and responsible ag retailers Read More
ManagementDeere-Precision Planting Update and the Ag Secretary Wait Continues
January 12, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj provide the latest on the court date for John Deere/Precision Planting and the quest Read More
ManagementAg Land Values In Limbo In 2017
January 10, 2017
Several factors will come into play in 2017 that will determine the direction of land values. Randy Dickhut, senior vice Read More
ManagementThe Frontrunner for Ag Secretary and What to Watch in 2017
January 6, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the possible new Secretary of Ag and what trends they will be looking Read More
Trending Articles
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls And Bears Impacting This Year’s Marketplace
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsanto Merger
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
Latest News
Andersons Retail Store
UncategorizedThe Andersons To Close All Retail Stores; Shutdown Does…
January 16, 2017
In a stunning announcement to the Toledo area, The Andersons Inc. said on Sunday that it would close its two Read More
Trimble TMX-2050 In-Cab Display
Eric SfiligojPrecision To Lead Agriculture In 2017?
January 16, 2017
Another new year is upon us! And I’m certain I speak for many in the agricultural world when I say Read More
Corn
Eric SfiligojThe Mood From Madison? In A Holding Pattern
January 16, 2017
Last week, I had the chance to attend the annual Wisconsin AgriBusiness Classic show in Madison, WI. It’s been a Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsAccenture Helps Syngenta Transform Its Global Logistics
January 13, 2017
Syngenta, a leading agriculture company, has collaborated with Accenture to design and implement a new digital logistics operating model across Read More
Fall Creek Seth Harden The Nature Conservancy
StewardshipLocal Farmers’ Watershed Initiative: Continuous Improve…
January 13, 2017
The goal in the Big Pine Watershed Project is to more intentionally do what local farmers and responsible ag retailers Read More
HerbicidesEPA Expands Enlist Duo Herbicide Registration To 34 Sta…
January 13, 2017
The U.S. EPA has expanded the geography for application of Enlist Duo herbicide from 15 to 34 states. This means Read More
Olson Ag Enterprise
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Acquires Nebraska Seed Retailer
January 13, 2017
Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed and nutritional Read More
ManagementDeere-Precision Planting Update and the Ag Secretary Wa…
January 12, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj provide the latest on the court date for John Deere/Precision Planting and the quest Read More
Monsanto sign
Seed/BiotechMonsanto, NRGene Form Agreement For Big Data Genomic An…
January 12, 2017
Monsanto Co. and NRGene have announced that the companies have reached a non-exclusive, multi-year global licensing agreement on NRGene’s genome-analysis Read More
AGCO Custom applicator
SprayersAGCO, Asmark Institute To Offer Training For Beginning …
January 11, 2017
AGCO Corp. and the Asmark Institute are collaborating to offer a new training program dedicated to educating and developing custom Read More
ManagementAg Land Values In Limbo In 2017
January 10, 2017
Several factors will come into play in 2017 that will determine the direction of land values. Randy Dickhut, senior vice Read More
Industry NewsPattison Agriculture Positioned To Be Leading Canadian …
January 10, 2017
Pattison Agriculture Limited (Pattison Agriculture), a division of The Jim Pattison Group (the Pattison Group), has announced the merger of Read More
Fertilizer Tender close-up
MicronutrientsHow Micronutrients Fit Into 2017 Fertility Plans
January 10, 2017
Where do micronutrients stand going forward in fertility plans? For one thing, Tim Mundorf, Field Representative with Midwest Laboratories, says Read More
Fertilizer application
State of the IndustryCautious Optimism On Fertilizer In 2017
January 10, 2017
What kind of fertilizer rates are growers and retailers looking at in 2017 and beyond? According to stakeholders CropLife magazine Read More
Asmus Farm Supply crop protection products in storage
State of the IndustryCrop Protection Products Market: Complexity Begets Oppo…
January 10, 2017
While other key market segments in agriculture continue to see tumultuous shifts in sales volumes going forward (large equipment sales are Read More
RoGator RG1300B AGCO
Sprayers10 Sprayers That Will Showcase The Latest Application T…
January 10, 2017
Sprayer manufacturers continue to step up their games with the latest in application technology. From direct injection systems and four-wheel Read More
Soybean Field
FungicidesGrowers Report Yield Boost, Extended Residual Disease C…
January 9, 2017
With the new growing season around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about inputs for 2017. As growers weigh Read More
Donald Trump
Eric SfiligojTrump’s New Ag Secretary Coming Soon?
January 9, 2017
As agricultural experts are quick to point out, incoming President Donald Trump largely has the nation’s growers to thank for Read More