Crop Scouting Competition for Iowa Youth 2020


The Iowa State University Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program is pleased to present the tenth annual Crop Scouting Competition for Iowa Youth. Middle school and high school students (those completing grades 7-12) from Iowa are invited to compete and showcase crop scouting abilities in corn and soybean. The competition will be a one day event focusing on outdoor learning. Previous sponsors include Iowa 4-H Youth Development, Corteva, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Independent Crop Consultants Association, ScoutPro, Iowa Certified Crop Advisors, and Environmental Tillage Systems.

Important Note: We expect to be able to hold an in-person competition. If state guidelines do not allow in-person meetings by July 30, we will provide a platform to participate in an interactive distance competition.

Date of Event: July 30, 2020          

Registration Deadline: July 1, 2020

Location: Field Extension Education Laboratory (FEEL) at 1928 240 St., Boone, Iowa.

Time: Registration begins at 8am. Competition starts at 8:30 a.m and will end by 2:30 p.m.

Meals: Lunch, beverages, and snacks will be provided.

Purpose: To provide students an opportunity to learn crop scouting and principles of IPM for corn and soybean and to obtain knowledge and skills helpful in future careers related to agricultural and environmental sciences.

Prizes: $500 for 1st, $300 for 2nd, $150 for 3rd, $50 for 4th.  


Free package of study materials

For teams that register by the deadline, youth can receive a package of study materials. When teams register we will send one package to every youth team member that provides an address. To receive the package, please provide the youth name and address when registering your team. THIS IS NOT REQUIRED.  Only youth that want to be mailed a package should provide an address. An address is not required to participate in the competition.

Office hours with an Agronomist

Join us for weekly office hours with an Agronomist. Starting June 15, every Monday at 3 PM a different Iowa State Agronomist with share some scouting information and answer your questions. The office hours are open to all youth in grades 7-12. No registration required. A link will be posted on this webpage on the day of the office hours that will direct you to a zoom meeting to participate.

Monday June 15th at 3 PM General Scouting Tips – Warren Pierson

Monday June 22nd at 3 PM Disorders – Angie Rieck-Hinz

Monday June 29th at 3 PM Weeds – Meaghan Anderson

Monday July 6th at 3 PM Insects – Terry Basol

Monday July 13th at 3 PM Diseases – Rebecca Vittetoe

Competition Strucutre and Tips

Team Leaders: Each 2-5 person team is to be led and accompanied by an adult team leader. Teams should work with their leader to train on a regular basis before the competition. Past team leaders have been FFA or agriculture teachers, seed dealers, coop employees, and others. No more than 3 teams per sponsoring organization (company, school, club).

Preparation: A 14-part set of IPM presentations and ISU Field Guides are available to help prepare for the competition. Presentations can be found at the IPM Curriculum Page. Corn, Soybean, and Weed ID Field Guides can be purchased at Teams will be expected to know the basics of IPM and scouting corn and soybean fields as outlined in these and other resources. Potential topics include identification and information regarding diseases, insects, weeds, disorders, herbicide injury, growth stages, and plant parts. Also, degree day computation and sprayer calibration and sprayer issues (see Teejet catalogue, pages 140-151 Other possible station topics include alfalfa pests, small grains pests, and cover crops. A complete list of station topics will be provided after registration has closed.

One of the stations will be a written test the principles of Integrated Pest Management and crop scouting.

Scoring: Teams can earn a possible 300 points during the competition. There will be approximately 10 stations focusing on different aspects of crop scouting each worth 30 points. One station will be the written test worth 30 points. Participation and teamwork of all team members will be part of the scoring process at each station, to ensure each individual is contributing.  Points will also be awarded for professionalism. Youth should be prepared to interact with judges in a professional manner including introducing themselves, shaking hands, and speaking clearly and with eye contact.

Registration: To register, please complete and return the registration form (2020_crop_scouting_competition_registration.docx) or complete the online form (  Please note, there is NO registration fee this year. Lunch and snacks are provided.

Participation/Permission/Medical Release form: All participants must have a permission form completed and turned in prior to attending the event. These will be sent to teams once they have registered.

Flyer: This flyer, 2020_crop_scouting_competition_flyer.pdf, can be used to advertise the program. 

For questions, email

scouting soybean plants during the crop scouting competition

Integrated Pest Management Curriculum

There a number of resources that can be used to help prepare students for the upcoming 2018 Crop Scouting Competition.  One of these resources, a 14-part IPM curriculum covering a variety of topics, can be downloaded from the IPM Curriculum page. Each presentation is available in both PDF and PowerPoint formats and includes notes.

These educational materials are for use in high school or post-secondary agricultural classrooms, or anywhere there is a need for such materials including at home or on the farm. Please do not remove copyright marks.

We would like to thank our generous sponsors who make this project possible: Corteva, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Independent Crop Consultants Association, ScoutPro, Iowa Certified Crop Advisors, and Environmental Tillage Systems.