Field Scouting Basics Workshop

A one-day hands-on course for beginning corn and soybean crop scouts.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Registration check-in opens at 8:30 am and the workshop begins at 9:00 am. The workshop concludes at 2:00 pm. Optional Agricultural Handler Pesticide Safety training follows at 2:10 pm to 3:10 pm.

$65 registration fee. Registration deadline is midnight, May 11.

Field Extension Education Laboratory
1928 240th Street, Boone, Iowa | map link

The Crop Scouting Field Basics Workshop is for interns scouting fields and reporting back to farmers, crop consultants, or others. Scouts are the "eyes and ears" in the field and their reports help drive pest management decisions. Crop scouts often discover other problems in the field, such as nutrient deficiencies, implement malfunctions, and other issues, that might not be seen from a 'windshield survey.'

The objective is getting students out of the classroom and in the field, completing activities a crop scout will actually be doing. This opportunity builds confidence in the field. Students should be prepared for typical spring weather and field conditions and dress accordingly.

Attendees receive one copy each of:
Corn and Soybean Field Guide
Weed Identification Field Guide 2nd Edition
Field Crop Insects

This program is capped at 80 students for maximum student-instructor interaction and discussion.

Agricultural Handler Pesticide Safety Training

The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) is intended to protect agricultural workers and pesticide handlers from the risks of prolonged pesticide exposure. Recent updates went into effect in January 2017. Crop scouts entering fields where pesticides have been applied must receive training before they begin work and every 12 months. The session includes information about pesticide residues, the potential health effects of pesticide exposure, and how to avoid bringing pesticide residues home. This is an optional session provided to registered attendees of the Crop Scouting Basics Workshop. Certificates of completion will be provided.

Target audience

  • This is a beginning-level course focusing on individuals working as crop scouts for the 2017 growing season.
  • The course is open to any individual wishing to learn more and sharpen their crop scouting skills.
  • The course is intended for individuals 18 years of age and older.


Students are divided into 4 groups that will rotate through the program topics.

Time Presentation
8:30 am Registration check-in
9:00 Opening comments
Crop scouting tips and tools
10:00 Group rotation 1
10:50 Group rotation 2
11:40 Group rotation 3
12:30 pm Lunch (provided)
1:10 Group rotation 4
2:00 Workshop concludes
2:10 - 3:10 Optional Agricultural Handler Pesticide Safety training

Crop Scouting Tips and Tricks – Angie Rieck-Hinz, Extension field agronomist

Angie will teach about many things relevant to crop scouts including tools to take to the field, how to communicate with farmers, reading plat books and maps, and other concerns to consider when going into a field.

Crop Growth and Development Mark Licht, Extension cropping systems agronomist

Mark will discuss corn and soybean growth and development as well as why it’s important to be able to stage a crop. He will also show how to perform stand counts, evaluate stands, and look for issues like sidewall compaction early in the season.

Weed IdentificationBob Hartzler, Extension weed specialist

Bob will be teaching how to identify common weeds using diagnostic characteristics of weeds found in crop fields. He will show how to use the Weed Identification Field Guide in the field to separate common grass and broadleaf weeds. Bob will also talk about the importance of identifying weeds in early growth stages.

Insect Pest IdentificationErin Hodgson, Extension entomologist

Erin will take start by reviewing how to identify common seed/seedling insect pests in the field. Then the group will move into demo plots to look for pests and feeding injury.

Disease Identification Alison Robertson, Extension field pathologist
Alison will be teaching about common diseases found in corn and soybean fields and how to differentiate between some that may appear similar. Then she will take the students to the field to look for common seedling diseases.

Agricultural worker and handler pesticide safety training Betsy Buffington, Pesticide Safety Education Program

Betsy will teach about many concerns for crop scouts including pesticide residues, the potential health effects of pesticide exposure, and how to avoid bringing pesticide residues home. By attending this presentation, you will be trained as a worker/handler under the Worker Protection Standard regulation.


Registration has closed for this program.

Cost: $65. Includes lunch and class materials.

Date: May 16, 2017

Time: check-in begin at 8:30 am. The program starts at 9:00 am and concludes at 2:00 pm. Optional pesticide safety training follows at 2:10 pm to 3:10 pm.

Location: FEEL, 1928 240th St, Boone, IA.
Printable directions and map.

Deadline: midnight, May 11, 2017.
Pre-registration is required to attend.

Cancellation: To cancel your registration please call (515) 294-6429 or email Cancellations requesting a refund must be received prior to midnight, May 11, 2017.

Confirmation: registration receipts are sent via email. Please provide a valid email address when registering.

For assistance with registration, receipts, cancellation or questions on the status of your registration contact Program Services at (515) 294-6429 or

Program contact

Warren Pierson
FEEL Coordinator
(515) 509-8308