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60 Ways Farmers Can Protect  Surface Water
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39. Scout Fields For Insects

farmer checking corn

Accurate and timely scouting helps you to identify potential problems before they become less manageable, and it may prevent unnecessary applications. According to University of Illinois research, many growers in an on-farm research project actually lost money by needlessly applying a soil insecticide. Scouting could have prevented that.

When entering a field to scout, make sure you have the proper equipment, and identify the field on a scouting report form by the field number, location, or other characteristics.

farmer recording field data Also, record the date, time, and weather conditions; the stage of growth of the crop; and general soil and crop conditions. Sample the field in the pattern prescribed for the particular problem and then record the results.
Pattern 1 If you expect to find pests uniformly across a field, select sampling sites that are also evenly distributed. In a square field, sample the center and the four corners. In a rectangular field, you might want to make a zigzag pattern.
Pattern 2 If pests tend to concentrate in particular areas, such as high or low spots, examine those spots more carefully than other areas. That way, you can determine the extent and severity of damage.
Pattern 3 If pests first invade a field at the borders—as stalkborers and grasshoppers often do—scout along the fence lines and along any waterways that run into the field.

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