If you’re having disease symptoms developing in your soybean, corn, small grains, sugarbeet or forage fields this summer and are wondering what might be causing them; or you are simply looking for a confirmation of your own diagnosis, the University of Minnesota Extension crops team would like to help.
Last year when the pandemic curtailed in-person meetings, Extension crops specialists launched an online program called Minnesota Digital Crop Doc (z.umn.edu/digitalcropdoc) to help with diagnosing diseases.
In a recent blog, Angie Peltier, Extension crops educator, and Phyllis Bongard, educational content development and communications specialist, shared how to use Digital Crop Doc. When you’re out scouting, you simply take photos of disease symptoms with your smartphone and submit them to the Digital Crop Doc website.
You will also be asked to provide helpful information such as weather conditions after planting, when symptoms were first observed, what variety was planted, and if you see a pattern in where symptoms can be found in the field or on plants. Photos and forms are sent immediately to Extension specialists so they can provide a timely visual diagnosis and research-based management recommendations. If the information submitted is insufficient for a visual diagnosis, you may be contacted for more information.
All information that could personally identify a field or person submitting the form remains confidential, they add. Personal information will only be used to contact you by phone or email to obtain more information to assist in providing a visual diagnosis.
Another plus with Digital Crop Doc? Submissions may help Extension identify new or emerging diseases or pests that would better guide future research and educational programs. Recent arrivals that Minnesota crop producers are dealing with include tar spot and bacterial leaf streak in corn, and soybean gall midge.