The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Field Crop Scout School prepares individuals with little or no previous crop scouting experience, providing a foundation of basic skills for crop scouting corn and soybean in the Midwest.

This program has been designed for beginning crop scouts to ensure they are ready for success when they go to the field. Correctly identifying pests in the field is critical for selecting the correct tools to economically manage issues in a timely fashion. The course features sessions on corn and soybean growth and development, weed, disease and insect identification, along with scouting methods and techniques.

Registration includes the following ISU publications: Corn and Soybean Field Guide, Weed Identification Field Guide, Field Crops Insects, Corn Diseases, and Soybean Diseases.

Space is limited to the first 75 registered due to limited classroom space and to ensure small group sizes. Students will rotate through classes and have the opportunity to have more one-on-one interactions with specialists. Live corn and soybean plants will be provided to students to give them the opportunity to look at plants, rather than pictures. It will also give them the opportunity to practice with their field guides before they go to the field.


8:30 am Registration and check-in
8:55 am Welcome, announcements, introductions
9:00 am Morning rotations begin
Students will divide into smaller groups, rotating through Scouting Tips and Tricks, Corn Growth and Development, and Soybean Growth and Development (50 minutes each)
11:50 am Lunch (provided)
12:30 pm Afternoon rotations begin
Students will divide into smaller groups, rotating through Weed, Insect and Crop Disease Identification (50 minutes each)
3:30 pm Course adjourns



March 7, 2020

Registration check-in 8:30 AM.
Program begins at 8:55 AM concludes at 3:30 PM.


Scheman Building, Iowa State Center
1805 Center St
Ames, IA 50014


Virgil Schmitt

Extension field agronomist

Crop scouting tips and tricks

Many tools and approaches are useful throughout the season for scouting fields. Communicating what you see is just as important as scouting the fields. Virgil will explain many options of communicating what you see to farmers or the agronomist you work with.

Mark Licht

Extenison cropping systems specialist

Corn growth and development

Learn how to stage corn and why staging corn is important for making crop and pest management decisions. Common issues and injury symptoms to watch for will also be addressed.

Ed Zaworski

Plant Pathology Diagnostician, Extension Program Specialist

Crop plant disease identification

This session provides insight into scouting for crop diseases including where to look, when to start looking for specific diseases, and what symptoms to look for. Learn about injury symptoms and disorders that may be confused with common diseases.

Rebecca Baker

Graduate research assistant, Weed Science

Weed identification

Weeds in crop fields are becoming more difficult to manage over time and identification is critical for selecting proper management techniques. Learn to identify common weed species in Iowa fields and what is important to record when scouting.

Warren Pierson

Coordinator, Field Extension Education Laboratory

Soybean growth and development

Properly staging soybeans is critical for crop and pest management decisions. Learn how to stage crops and some key things to look for during these stages.

Erin Hodgson

Extenison entomologist

Insect pest identification

Managing crop insect pests requires accurate identification of insects in the field. Erin will teach how to identify and scout for common insect pests in crops as well as how to tell the differences between other insects that look similar.


Pay by credit card

Pay by check


Registration, prior to midnight, March 3, 2020

Registration includes lunch, refreshment breaks, field guides and course materials.



  • Pre-registration is required to attend this course. Registrations must be received prior to midnight, March 3, 2020.
  • Class size is limited to 75 and pre-registration is required to attend. Registrations accepted on a first-come, first-paid basis. Registration will be closed if the course reaches capacity.
  • Requests for refunds must be received prior to midnight, March 3, 2020. Substitutions will be allowed.
  • Confirmation of registration is sent via email. Please provide a valid email address when registering


John Sawyer

Warren Pierson
coordinator, Field Extension Education Laboratory
(515) 509-8308

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