Crop Scouting

Crop or field scouting is a method for determining crop health. It is the process of walking through crop rows and making random stops to check for pests and diseases. Crop scouting also helps determine whether implemented pest and disease control strategies are successful. Some tools used during crop scouting include a pocket knife, sampling bags, a hand shovel, writing utensils and field notes, a magnifying lens, and sweep nets to calculate the number of pests and determine whether control is required. Some scouts also carry a camera with them to take pictures of crops or specific pests. It is important to go crop scouting regularly, and at specific growth stages to ensure crop health. Crop scouting on a weekly basis can help mitigate problems early and prevent yield loss.

What to Look for While Crop Scouting

Field scouts should make sure to look out for any irregularities such as dying or rotting plants, eaten vegetation, discolouration, weed growth, increase in insects, or anything that stands out. When scouting for specific issues, it is important to know the best time of day, month, or season to look, as well as pest thresholds, indicators on the plant, and the crop stage it may effect. Scouting can be outsourced or done by the grower. When dealing with new crop species, it can be a good idea to consult with experts to understand things to look out for.

New Field Scouting Tools

Due to advancements in technology, new tools such as mobile and computer apps, drones, field instruments, and GPS geo-tagging have helped catch issues faster and more effectively. These new technologies also provide more data with reporting that enables the grower to review information more accurately than traditional methods.

Scouting apps help provide information directly at the user’s fingertips. They can help to identify specific pests or diseases and suggest treatments depending on how severe the situation is. They also enable the user to record GPS data to easily locate which areas have been already scouted or areas that require maintenance for more efficient spraying or control methods. Another benefit of scouting apps is the previously stored data from past scouting reports, which allows the user to monitor problematic zones more frequently.

Check out the Agricultural Apps section of the website to find free and paid scouting apps