Yesterday was a full day of intense agricultural learning at our land-grant university, Penn State at State College Pennsylvania. At the school, a group of fifty (50) entry level crop scouts were provided with the fundamentals necessary for scouting in corn, soybeans, forages, and small grains.
The Agronomy Scout School is mainly designed for scouts working for crop consultants, industry agronomists, or Ag service providers throughout Pennsylvania or neighboring states. Figuring that, as an Organic Inspector, basic scouting knowhow is also an important part of the job to assess the organic field crops during my farm visits.
Some of the sessions were hands-on. Each participant received Agronomy Field Guide handbooks and a some basic tools to use in the field. Topics covered were:
- Introduction to crop scouting
- Soil fertility basics and nutrient deficiencies
- Alfalfa and grass growth and development
- Corn, soybean, and small grain growth and development
- Insect ID
- Disease ID
- Weed ID
- Non-pest crop response symptoms
- Sampling techniques and reporting
- Stand and population assessments and estimating yield
The added treat was the vanilla bean ice cream from the Berkey Creamery.