Corn Field Scouting

Seed to STEM
Grade Level: High School

Overview

Farmers utilize field scouting as a sure-fire way to assess their crops in real-time. Surveying their field allows them to see the development of their crops to guarantee they are at the predicted growth stage based on the number of accumulated growing degree days. Farmers are also able to observe what types of pests are infesting their crops, what nutrients they are lacking, any diseases spreading throughout the field, the types of weeds competing for resources and the damage that was done after a severe weather event. From this analysis, farmers are able to immediately intervene and make adjustments to the amount of fertilizer, pesticides and/or herbicides needed in order to ensure the greatest performance of their crop.

The key to scouting is to have a random, yet methodical technique in observing the field. This is important so as to receive the most accurate representation of the conditions found within the corn crop. Students will utilize this surveying technique to determine the health of the field. This will be done by first learning the five classification types that hinder plant production – pests, disease, weeds, nutrition and weather damage – and the causes of each. There are telltale signs that can be observed with practice and a careful eye. Students will apply that knowledge in the field then finish by creating and presenting a scouting report to their peers.

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