As the crop gets out of the ground, farmers across Canada look to hit the field and evaluate the start of the 2018 growing season. There are those who make great crop scouts, those who are a little more average, and some pretty poor crop scouts — what sets the great scouts apart?
We asked seasoned crop scouts for their top tips on successful scouting. Thanks to Peter Johnson, RealAgriculture agronomist, Dan Foster, of PRIDE Seeds, Steve Larocque, with Beyond Agronomy, Matt Gosling, of Premium Ag, and Terry Aberhart, of Aberhart Farms, for this (non-exhaustive) list:
- Be sure to cover the field using different patterns — we’re creatures of habit, are you always scouting the same spots?
- Use the best technology, but also value your personal experience — a good investigator sees things that no one else does, and that eye for detail can take time to develop
- Sometimes the hardest recommendation is to tell someone to do nothing, but sometimes you just need to be patient or not throw good money after bad
- Pay attention to topography and different areas of the field. Walk the outer border, and anticipate where problem areas are most likely to show up. Micro climates (like along tree lines or low spots) could potentially cause issues
- There’s value in a second set of eyes
- Take part in on-farm research and collaborate with other researchers
- Be curious and observant: Try and leave pre-conceived notions behind, and always be willing to test a theory or run a trial. Just make sure you don’t get too curious or you will get nothing done!
If you have more to add to the list don’t be shy and either comment in the box below or send Shaun an email at [email protected]