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

ManagementMACA 2014: The State Of The Agricultural Industry, And Then Some
October 9, 2014
The trade association’s annual gathering featured speakers from across agriculture and beyond. Read More
StewardshipA Multi-Layered Approach To Water Quality
October 6, 2014
Illinois event highlights research and technology designed to better monitor and improve water quality — and the benefits of cooperative, coordinated effort. Read More
StewardshipMichigan Agriculture Leaders On Toledo Water Ban: We Want To Be Part Of The Conversation
August 8, 2014
Leaders of Michigan agricultural organizations said Thursday that the government should not have a “knee-jerk reaction” based on last weekend’s water ban in Toledo due to fertilizer run-off in Lake Erie. Read More
ManagementRussia Bans U.S. And EU Ag Product Imports In Ukraine Sanctions Battle
August 7, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin has banned the import of agricultural goods from countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia. Read More

Top 100 Articles

CropLife 100CHS: Driving Momentum To Help Farmer-Owners Grow
December 11, 2014
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, must capture new opportunities to Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT, Verdesian Ink Distribution Agreement
December 9, 2014
The agreement grants BRANDT the exclusive right to sell and market Verdesian’s patented Steric chemistry in the Turf and Ornamental and eastern U.S. ag markets under the BRANDT Reaction product line name. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: The Colors Of Custom Application
December 5, 2014
Although many color spray rigs are in the yards of the nation’s top ag retailers, the majority of them still come in only a few shades. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Invests In Meridian Agriculture Distribution
December 4, 2014
Meridian will provide retailers with supplier-branded products and numerous opportunities to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: Entering A New Seed Era
December 4, 2014
The seed category has been re-vitalized during the past few years, and more good news (and varieties) are headed the industry’s way in 2015. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: The Depressed State Of Fertilizer
December 3, 2014
Following downright giddy growth earlier this decade, fertilizer sales have fallen back down to earth the past two years. Read More

Latest News

Seed/BiotechKaren Arthur Joins AgriThority As Seed Treatment Produc…
December 19, 2014
Prior to joining AgriThority, Arthur directed research and development programs, overseeing laboratory and field research, to build the Valent U.S.A. seed treatment portfolio. Read More
EquipmentJohn Deere To Sell Crop Insurance Business
December 19, 2014
Deere & Co. has reached a definitive agreement to sell its crop insurance business, subject to regulatory approval, to Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. of Iowa. Read More
Crop InputsNufarm Fills Regulatory VP Position
December 18, 2014
Nufarm announced today that Rob Schwehr has been promoted to the position of Vice President of Innovation & Regulatory Affairs for Nufarm Americas. Read More
Seed/BiotechReport: China Approves Viptera Corn, U.S. Officials Awa…
December 17, 2014
Chinese authorities have informed some agriculture industry officials the government has approved U.S. imports of a type of genetically modified corn developed by Syngenta. Read More
FertilizerMonty’s Plant Food Brings In New Sales Rep
December 16, 2014
Monty's Plant Food Company has hired Warren Kearns as its newest Sales Representative for the South Carolina area. Read More
EquipmentHagie Wins 2014 CropLife IRON Product Of The Year Award
December 15, 2014
The self-propelled sprayer maker has a hit on its hands with the new STS Series model. Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Sees China Approving Contentious GMO Corn Soon
December 15, 2014
Syngenta will make an announcement when it receives official documentation from China that Agrisure Viptera corn, known as MIR 162, has been cleared for import. Read More
Crop InputsVerdesian Life Sciences Names Vice President Of Communi…
December 15, 2014
Amy Bugg will oversee the execution of all promotional strategies for the corporate brand and the complete product portfolio. Read More
StewardshipFarmers, Retailers Attend 4R Certification 4U Workshop
December 15, 2014
More than 160 farmers and ag retailer attended the “4R Certification 4U” workshop December 12 to learn more about the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship, water quality research in the area and cost-sharing opportunities. Read More
Matt Hopkins10 Best New Agriculture Apps For 2015
December 15, 2014
These new agriculture apps are certain to help ag professionals do their jobs more efficiently in 2015 and beyond. Read More
ManagementARA Learnings, Retail Buying Intentions: Welcome To Cro…
December 12, 2014
This informal video program puts news and events effecting retailers into context, and features Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Herbicide-Tolerant Technology Closer To Commer…
December 12, 2014
The final EIS moves Monsanto one step closer to the introduction of Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, paving the way to provide access to dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. Read More
Seed/BiotechUSDA Issues Final Environmental Impact Statement On Her…
December 12, 2014
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is issuing a final environmental impact statement on varieties of cotton and soybeans that have been genetically engineered for resistance to several herbicides, including the one known as dicamba. Read More
CropLife 100CHS: Driving Momentum To Help Farmer-Owners Grow
December 11, 2014
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, must capture new opportunities to Read More
LegislationARA Applauds CFATS Passage Prior To Holiday Adjournment
December 11, 2014
The streamlined bill provides a four-year authorization of the CFATS program and guidance to DHS on key issues of chemical facility security Read More
Seed/BiotechBayer CropScience’s ILeVO Approved By EPA
December 11, 2014
EPA has approved ILeVO, the only seed treatment that protects the root system against infections caused by the Sudden Death Syndrome fungus and has activity against dangerous nematodes. Read More
Biologicals in Emerging Markets Map.
Crop InputsBiocontrols Could Quadruple By 2025; Will Regulators Pl…
December 11, 2014
The European experience with GMOs offers caution — and a promise — for biologicals. Read More
Crop InputsBASF Donates $75,000 To Feeding America
December 10, 2014
The donation will support Feeding America’s National Produce Program, an initiative that helps with planning, transportation and logistics to ensure fresh produce deliveries to the 200 member food banks around the country. Read More