AMES, Iowa — The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Integrated Pest Management program hosted its eighth annual Crop Scouting Competition for Iowa Youth on July 30 at the Iowa State University Field Extension Education Laboratory near Boone, Iowa.
Thirty nine high school students (those completing grades 8-12) from across Iowa tested their integrated crop management skills through several tasks and challenges, both in the field and in the classroom. Youth had the opportunity to work with and learn from Iowa State faculty, staff and agronomists, as well as professionals in crop-related careers.
Receiving first place in this competition was Clayton County Team Number One with 231.1 total points. Following close behind with a score of 215.5 was Clayton County Team Number Two. Team Kuhlmann Seed placed third with a score of 214.75, and Team Geer Seed recorded 211.6 points to finish fourth. These top four winning teams received a cash prize for their accomplishments, while the top two teams from Clayton County will be advancing to the regional competition in Nebraska Aug. 27.
During the competition, a total of nine teams competed and rotated through eight different stations, each with a simulation of real field conditions, where they needed to make an integrated crop and pest management decision. Stations included weed identification, soybean staging, soybean diseases and management. There was also a written test given to evaluate students’ knowledge about common IPM practices to ensure individual team member mastery. The goal of this competition was to both test and increase students’ knowledge in the areas of weeds, insects and disease identification, as well as demonstrate the many careers available in agriculture.
A post-event survey showed that participants thought the challenge to be evenly competitive, with plant disorders and pesticides providing the biggest challenge. It also indicated that students enjoyed learning a variety of new things in a hands-on environment. The event also provided an opportunity for each student to learn and work as a team in order to solve problems together.
A majority of students who competed in the event will be entering into higher education with two-thirds entering into a field within the agriculture industry, with a total of 11 students planning to major in agronomy.
A video synopsis of the event is available for watching.
— Maya Hayslett, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
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