Scouting fields throughout the growing season can assist in making timely management decisions. It's always nice to know what to look for.
Here are some helpful resources for scouting trips:
1. The Purdue University Pest & Crop Newsletter.
The newsletter provides readers with information and advice on effective pest management throughout the growing season on a weekly basis. This resource shares information on environmental conditions, which vary from week to week.
Read the newsletter before you head out to the field, and get the upper hand on pests. The newsletter, which now features video clips of specialists talking about key problems, is available online.
2. The Purdue Extension Corn & Soybean Field Guide.
The guide is a pocket-sized booklet packed full of information related to production. There are common weeds, insects and diseases including economic thresholds, tips on diagnosing herbicide injury and nutrient deficiencies, and much more.
The small size makes this a great resource to carry with you in the field to use as a reference as you go. Last year's version can be purchased online from The Education Store for $4, and there is also an app available for Apple iPads from the Apple App Store for $12.99. A new version of the printed guide will be out soon for 2016.
3. Practical Weed Science for the Field Scout handbook
The University of Missouri Extension's Practical Weed Science for the Field Scout is specifically for corn and soybean production. There are more than 30 pages of weeds organized by lifecycle, including pictures and descriptions. The publication also describes herbicide injuries based on the mode of action, which can be very helpful for narrowing down the cause of abnormality while in the field.
Although it's considerably larger than the Purdue Field Guide, this one is also very beneficial to have out in the field. A free PDF of this document, which could be opened on a phone or tablet, is available online, and the hard copy publication is available for $4.
With the increasing costs of precision agriculture and technology, it's important to make sure your investments pay off at the end of the season. Using these resources while scouting fields is one surefire way make better management decisions, which will improve yields.
Taylor Sigman is a senior in Purdue University Ag Communications. She is a Benton County native, and writes from West Lafayette.