Now Reading: Crop Disease Scouting: Understanding In-Season Threats

Crop Disease Scouting: Understanding In-Season Threats

by Bret Sitzmann, Product Marketing Lead, The Climate Corporation

August 22, 2018


A few years ago, as an Iowa farmer (and farmer advisor), I always looked forward to walking the fields to get a closer look at what was happening in the long rows of corn and beans. Despite my best efforts, it was often difficult to determine where to focus my field scouting efforts. And because there were never enough hours in the day, I had little time to waste.

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Fast forward to today when a lot has changed in the world of farming – but some things haven’t. Time is still at a premium, but developments in digital agriculture have made scouting more efficient, with field health imagery that can indicate challenges in your fields – crop diseases, pests, nutrient deficiencies, and more – hidden from the naked eye and waiting to rob crop health and yield.

Cold, wet weather across much of the Midwest in early spring followed by hot and humid early summer conditions might have resulted in a number of field issues, and if you’re like many farmers I know, staying ahead of crop health risks is a constant concern. You may remember reading about the benefits of Climate FieldView™ field health imagery and scouting strategies in a recent blog that talked about using satellite imagery to identify yield threats. With growing season in full swing, now is the time to identify those threats and evaluate what they may be.

Field scouting beyond the end rows

In many cases, there is still time to take action to protect yield – and field health imagery is key to being able to get the holistic view of your field by pinpointing where you need to investigate. But once you’re out in the field walking the rows that showed up in your imagery as potential problem areas, what are common issues you may find? Below are are some of the crop conditions that Midwestern farmers should watch for in their fields this summer:

  • Lesions could indicate northern corn leaf blight. Typically, a fungicide treatment can help to manage these diseases and help to get your crops back on track.
    Elliptical or cigar-shaped lesions typical of northern leaf blight.
  • Corn rootworm is a big issue across parts of the Midwest. Signs of this pest include root tips that appear brown and are chewed back to the base of the plant. FieldView can give you a head start on finding these problem areas.
  • Leaf yellowing on your soybeans can be a sign of nutrient deficiencies and crop disease. Yellowing of the lower leaves of the canopy is an indication that your corn crop is short on nutrients. Farmers I work with love the FieldView nitrogen management tools that provide insights into the N status of their fields throughout the growing season.
  • Water stress is an issue in some Midwestern fields, while other areas are experiencing near-drought conditions.

Whatever conditions you’re tracking in your fields, you can document them using scouting pins, photos and notes, as well as create customized regions that you can track from year to year. You can also quickly and easily share field insights with your agronomist or farming partners to get their insights and recommendations.

Growing season is a time to identify and address challenges in your field so that you can have every opportunity for the best possible yield. FieldView field health imagery lets you look more deeply inside your fields so you can stay one step ahead. I wish you good luck – and we are always here to help! For more information, contact your Climate FieldView dealer, or the Climate Support Team at (888) 924-7475 or

About The Author
As a product marketing lead at Climate, Bret helps to advance the development and awareness of digital agriculture tools that help farmers and dealers achieve higher levels of productivity. He is a Certified Crop Advisor and holds a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy from Iowa State University.