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Crop Scouting Doesn't Always Have to Be High-Tech Work

Crop Scouting Doesn't Always Have to Be High-Tech Work
Sometimes, tried and true crop scouting aids are still most practical.

Purdue University put its Corn and Soybean Field Guide, the pocket version, on an app for iPads just more than a year ago. It's a project of the Purdue Crop Diagnostic Training Center, part of the Purdue Agronomy Department. Many have found that after downloading it through a $12.99 purchase, they can look at picture of weeds and other pests such as insects and diseases in larger format, and find it helpful.

Jeff Phillips agrees it's a useful tool. The same information in the pocket guide is on the app. However, when he gets called to scout a field for a farmer, he sticks his field guide in his back pocket. Phillips is the Extension ag educator in Tippecanoe County.

Not paperless yet: Jeff Phillips still relies on the paper version of the Purdue Corn

"For me it's just easier to pull it out and check," he says. He has used it enough, and the format hasn't changed – just updated, that he almost knows where to look without checking the index of the Guide.

Related: Crop Scouting: There's an App for That

When he's walking through narrow-row soybeans or in tall corn at this time of year, he prefers just having the Guide in paper form to back up what he thinks he's seeing, or maybe even send him in a different direction. He finds it more convenient than carrying a iPad through the field, especially if he's just diagnosing what might be wrong, and may have to walk a good bit of the field to figure it out.

Others may disagree. The iPad version allows specialists to include videos which obviously are new, compared to the Guide. If you have an iPad and the app, that's something you can view once you're out of the field and either back to your truck or back in the office.

Technology makes crop scouting faster because you can take picture sin the field with a camera phone and send them to the Plant Diagnostic Clinic at Purdue. You can also download photos later onto your computer and email them to whomever you want.

But for just walking fields, Phillips says the paper version still works just fine.

TAGS: Soybeans
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