AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala.—Crops are greening up, and pests are moving in. It is time for an insect and disease scouting refresher. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System crops team will host the 63rd annual Cotton and Soybean Scouting Short Course in June at several locations throughout the state.
Scott Graham, an Alabama Extension cotton, soybean and peanut entomologist, said Extension personnel will continue to provide support for producers throughout the summer, but the short course will help producers to get off on the right foot.
Producers have attended scouting schools since the days of the boll weevil. The first cotton scout scoured the fields of west Alabama in 1959, and the cotton scouting school took off shortly after. Today, producers, scouts and industry representatives still meet to discuss crop pests, scouting techniques and control options.
Graham said the scouting school is an excellent opportunity for producers to refresh their memory.
“We encourage producers to attend scouting school because the pest pressures may be similar year after year, but they certainly have some differences—especially when it comes to control methods,” Graham said. “We work to have all of the information farmers need to head into the growing season with confidence in their ability to spot issues and make treatment applications.”
As always, the scouting school will also provide six continuing education units (CEUs) for certified crop advisors and 10 hours for pesticide applicators.
Scouting School Dates and Times
Extension personnel will host three workshops. To register, contact the county Extension office or center of the location you wish to attend.
- 8 a.m.
- Autauga County Extension Office
- 2226 AL-14 West, Autaugaville, Alabama 36003
- Contact: Andrew Sparks or John Vanderford
- 8 a.m.
- Wiregrass Research and Extension Center
- 167 State Highway 134 E, Headland, Alabama 36345
- Contact: Jimmy Jones, Jessica Kelton or Sedrick Mack
- 8 a.m.
- Tennessee Valley Research and Extension Center
- 9494 Experimental Loop, Madison, Alabama 35756
- Contact: Eddie McGriff or Tyler Sandlin
Topics of Discussion
Topics of discussion for the scouting short course include the following:
- Cotton insect pests –description, recognition, life history and damage, seasonal occurrence, management recommendations and threshold levels.
- Scouting safety
- Agronomics and the use of plant growth regulators in cotton (central Alabama)
- Beneficial insects and sporadic cotton pests (north Alabama)
- Soybean insect pests (north and central Alabama)
- Identifying key weeds and optimal use of plant growth regulators in cotton (north Alabama)
- Key management concerns for peanuts (south Alabama)
- Field training opportunity – from 12:45 to 3:30 p.m., producers will have in-field training opportunities
Graham said there is an in-season school planned for Thursday, June 23 in Cherokee County and an in-season school planned for late July or early August in southeast Alabama. More information will be made available as dates are finalized.
The Alabama Extension crops team produces a weekly podcast—the Alabama Crops Report Podcast. Check out past and new episodes on the Alabama Extension website or on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.