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How to scout crops for maximum profit?

 







How to scout crops for maximum profit?


With lower prices and higher input cost, it is becoming a necessity that everyone do crop scouting. Crop scouting is a year-round part of good farm management.

Checklist for Scouting:

√ Crop Emergence – Shortly after crop has been planted, be sure the crop is emerging properly. If problem areas are found, it may be necessary to replant those areas.

√ Weed Situation – Key time is late May through June, although it is an on-going process from planting through harvest. It is important to note of number and species.

√ Crop Residue Counts – Late May through early June weed scouting: measure the crop residue on all fields. Percent of residue retained after planting should be recorded for long term records.

√ Stand Counts – Take stand counts in all fields. Plant population can have a big impact on yields, especially for corn. Stand-count scouting documents the quality and performance of specific hybrids and varieties. This information should be used to determine if plant population was a factor in a limited yield.

√ Herbicide Performance – One to two weeks after post emergence herbicide applications, scout to evaluate performance of the herbicide and check that all weed species present have been controlled. Decide at that time if spray is acceptable, or respraying, spot spraying, or cultivation is necessary. Check weekly until the crop has canopied to see if any new flushes arrive.

√ European Corn Borer Counts – Randomly pull plant whorls and record the larvae per plant to determine the average for the field. As pressure increases, pull more samples. If economic thresholds are exceeded, field should be treated. (*Note this is not as important when using the Bt corn varieties.)

√ Silking Date – The approximate date for 50% silking should be recorded for all cornfields. Silking dates impact yield, so this information can help estimate yield potential.

√ Yield Estimates – From mid-August to mid-September, collect yield estimates on all corn fields. They can help determine marketing and storage strategies.

√ For soybeans, count pods and seeds in pods, noting overall appearance to estimate yields. This scouting trip for both corn and soybeans also provides an opportunity to make notes on any disease or other pest problems, such as soybean cyst nematoades.

√ Harvest scheduling – As harvest nears, fields should be scouted by drive-by and walk-ins to accelerate harvest of fields with stalk quality problems or corn borer infestations.