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Brush Up On Your Scouting Skills

Early scouting is a critical step toward higher yields.

It can be a challenge to keep an eye on your crops while you’re still trying to get all of your crops in the ground. But that seems to be the theme this spring. Early season scouting is critical to your crops’ success. Be sure to make time to head off any threats.

This year’s cool, wet conditions across many areas have set up some especially challenging scenarios. Slow-to-germinate crops are more likely targets for seed-feeding pests, such as wireworms. Nitrogen deficiencies could become evident. And weed escapes might be more common.

This could be the year to consider an off-farm consultant or scouting service. If those outside resources don’t fit the budget this year, here are some tips to help you protect your crops:

Tap into all available resources. Many local co-ops or ag chem retailers have agronomists on staff who can help you identify issues and recommend solutions. Your state’s land-grant university offers crop-specific scouting manuals and other scouting tools. Some even offer comprehensive scouting manuals, such as this one from University of Wisconsin Extension, that cover many different crops. Land-grant universities also provide Extension specialists who can answer questions.

Turn to technology. Mobile devices allow you to bring your scouting resources directly to the problem. Commercial and free apps can help you identify pests, select the best solutions and connect you with ag chem dealers and custom applicators. Search your preferred app store for terms, such as weed identification, corn pests, soybean diseases or simply farming and agriculture.

Start early. Seed-feeding insects can harm yields before germination. When it comes to weed pressure, yield losses begin soon after crop emergence, but the rate of yield loss can increase rapidly as control is delayed.1 Addressing these problems quickly can help hold down treatment costs, while preventing further yield losses.

Be prepared. Good scouting and record keeping can help you predict weed pressure. Certain insect outbreaks can lead to pesticide shortages. Be sure to have the right crop protection products on hand. And then be sure your application equipment is field ready. Your Case IH dealer can help with inspections, parts and, of course, the right new or pre-owned Patriot® series sprayer or Nutri-Placer fertilizer applicator.

Field scouting offers a huge return on your time investment. With the right resources and a little diligence, you can make better decisions that pay off all season long.


Be precise in your applications

Bring balance to your fertility program

1Hartzler B. The Cost of Waiting Too Long. Iowa State University Extension website. Published January 12, 2009. Accessed May 18, 2016.
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