New this year, MSU Extension holds a field crops scouting school

This scouting school is designed for interns and entry level scouts to learn the basics of identification, walking patterns and scouting tools.

Field Crop
Photo by Jenna Falor, MSU Extension.

The Michigan State University Extension field crops team is excited to bring you our first Field Crops Scouting School. Do you have interns or entry level scouts who could use some extra training on how to scout? Summer is a busy time and it's easy to throw interns out thinking they know the basics, but have they been trained? Do they know how to scout properly and when they should be looking for different things? Send them to this scouting training that extends over three dates during different parts of the growing season to give them in-season training. The goal is they will be scouting the pests they will be seeing in the field around that time. Keeping in mind no two seasons are the same.

Participants will move through this three-part training program in a cohort throughout the growing season. The sessions will be held at the Saginaw Valley Research and Extension Center:

  1. May 1, 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    • Lunch included
    • Basics covered: weed identification, scouting patterns, nutrient deficiencies, etc.
    • Wheat scouting with Dennis Pennington, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension wheat specialist: staging wheat, wheat diseases, any nutrient deficiencies, etc., in our wheat plots.
  2. June 5, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    • Disease scouting with Marty Chilvers, MSU Extension plant pathologist.
  3. July 31, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    • Scouting for insects (damage, egg masses, etc.) with Chris DiFonzo, MSU Extension field crops entomologist.

Throughout the three sessions, MSU Extension field crops educators with years of experience scouting will also be helping and teaching. The program is designed to be real-life in the field scouting, so the sessions have been set up around the typical timing for different issues.

The cost for the scouting school is $150 and covers the cost of materials and food. Included in registration is a light breakfast all three days, lunch the first day and all sorts of reference materials as well as a fun scouting tool or two. Registration is limited to 30 individuals to keep a small cohort and group feel. This will allow for plenty of hands-on time and talking to the Extension educators and specialists when scouting as well.

Register for Field Crops Scouting School

If you or your company interns need help getting registered, please contact Shelly Sowles at or 989-269-9949. If you have questions on the program content, please reach out to Jenna Falor at or Monica Jean at

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