My extension focus has been engaging youth in plant sciences, especially agronomy. Last year I had the opportunity to attend the Iowa Youth Crop Scouting Competition where ISU Extension faculty worked with 4-H and FFA youth to not only compete in an agronomic principles contest, but most importantly learn about various pests which affect corn and soybeans in addition to other abiotic and biotic factors. It is my pleasure to bring this program to Nebraska with 2014 as the pilot year. Details for this new program are provided below.
The University Of Nebraska – Lincoln Extension is pleased to present the first annual Crop Scouting Competition for Nebraska youth. It will be held in at the ARDC near Mead, Nebraska on August 6, 2014. The event will include both indoor and outdoor events. Teams of junior high and high school students (those completing 7-12th grades) from across Nebraska are invited to participate.
The purpose of the competition is to provide students an opportunity to learn crop scouting and principles of integrated pest management (IPM) for corn and soybeans in Nebraska, to obtain knowledge and skills that will be helpful in future careers and to demonstrate newer crop scouting technologies.
Schools, clubs or other organizations may enter a team composed of three or four participants. An adult team leader must accompany each team of students. Team leaders could be FFA advisors, crop consultants, extension staff, coop employees, etc.
Top-scoring teams win prizes: $500 for first, $300 for second, $250 for third and $100 for fourth place.
Teams will be expected to know the basics of scouting corn and soybean fields. This includes crop staging; looking for patterns of crop injury; disease, insect and weed seedling identification; etc. Other topics many include but are not limited to, pesticide safety, nutrient disorders, and herbicide injury.
More information about the crop scouting competition and instructions on how to register a team are available online at cropwatch.unl.edu/youth. Click on the link that says, “Crop Scouting Competition”.
Teams must be registered by July 15. Registration is $50/team; the fee will be refunded when the team attends the competition. Payment by check is due along with the registration form by July 15. This program is sponsored by DuPont Pioneer and UNL Extension.