Crop Scouting Competition for Iowa Youth 2021


The Iowa State University Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program is pleased to present the eleventh annual Iowa Youth Crop Scouting Competition. 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.

Sponsors this year include Corteva Agriscience, Iowa 4-H Foundation, Bayer, United Soybean Board, Farmer's Edge, Iowa Independent Crop Consultants Association, Iowa Certified Crop Advisors, and Environmental Tillage Systems.

For 2021, we are planning an in-person competition. This year, the Iowa Youth Crop Scouting Competition team plans to host an in-person competition at an outdoor facility with field plots. All actvities will be outside and appropriate safety measures for preventing spread of COVID-19 will be used. Directions on proceedures and precautions will be sent to registered teams closer to the competition date. Please contact Maya Hayslett,, if you have any questions.

Registration: Registration for the competition has been closed because we have reached the maximum number of teams. If you were planning to register a team and were unable, please contact Maya Hayslett, If there is enough interest we will work to expand capacity for the competition next year.

Date of Event: July 26, 2021          

Registration Deadline: Registration closed for 2021

Location: Field Extension Education Laboratory, Boone, IA

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

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.  The top team from Iowa will be invited to attend the Regional Crop Scouting Competition on September 9th. The regional competition will be in a virtual format.

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).

Content Topics Teams are Tested on: Teams will be expected to know the basics of IPM and scouting corn and soybean fields. Topics include identification and management of diseases, insects, weeds, and disorders; corn and soybean plant growth stages and plant parts; degree day computation; cover crops and other crops grown in Iowa, and responsible pesticide use including pesticide resistance, sprayer calibration, and reading pesticide labels. A list of station topics and specific station learning goals will be sent to registered teams.

Competition Format and Scoring: During the competition, teams will particpate in actvities at multiple field stations. Youth work as a team to answer questions and demonstrate field skills as asked by station judges. Participation and teamwork of all team members will be part of the scoring process, to ensure each individual is contributing.  Points will be awarded for professionalism. Youth should be prepared to interact with judges in a professional manner including introducing themselves and speaking clearly and with eye contact.There will also be a written exam.

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.

Free package of study materials: For teams that register by the deadline, youth can receive a package of study materials consisting of ISU field guides and 1-2 other items to help with practicing pest idenification. 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.

scouting soybean plants during the crop scouting competition

Online study materials: There are number of resources that can be used to help prepare students for the competition. 

IPM Curriculum

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 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.

Agronomist Presentations

Iowa State University State Agronomists have created presentations on scouting and pest management topics for our youth participants. See links belows.

General Scouting Tips – Warren Pierson - Crop Scouting Tips Presentation

Disorders – Angie Rieck-Hinz - Disorders Presentation

Weeds – Meaghan Anderson - Weed presentation (you might also want to check out the new "Weekly Weed Watch" videos)

Insects – Terry Basol - Insect Pest Presentation

Diseases – Rebecca Vittetoe - favorable_disease_conditions.pptx and corn_and_soybean_disease_table_by_growth_stage.pdf

Pesticide Sprayer Information

Teejet catalogue, pages 140-151

Crops Feed the World Online Lessons

For learning some basic knowledge on crop production and pest management you can use the online interactive lessons available for free from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Moodle. For more information on lesson topics and how to access them, visit the Crops Feed the World Webiste:

Crop Scouting Educational Resources Page

Check out the Crop Scouting Educational Resources page from ISU IPM for more great resources on crop scouting.

ISU IPM Youtube Channel

Check out the ISU IPM Youtube Channel for videos related to pest management and scouting In particular, you might want to try the playlists for "Weekly Weed Watch", "Soybean Diseases", "Corn Diseases" and "Entomology".

Flyer: crop_scouting_flyer_4.pdf

For questions, email Maya Hayslett,