It may seem a little early to be thinking about scouting field crops, but preparation is key in a successful scouting program, and it's not too soon to be preparing. Growers can improve their scouting know-how during the 2013 Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Academy slated for Feb. 19-20 at the Okemos Conference Center in Okemos. The event is sponsored annually by Michigan State University Extension (MSUE).
Winter is a great time to start this preparation, says Marilyn Thelen, Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) educator. Here are a few things that growers can do in the cold months to contribute to scouting success during the growing season:
•Document problem areas in the field that were identified during harvest.
•Brush up on growth stages of plants, weeds and insects.
•Assemble resources and references that can be used during the growing season.
•Learn about new weeds, insects or diseases.
•Find out which pests are resistant in Michigan and how to identify them.
The two-day IPM academy will address the weather challenges of the 2012 production season with the help of Jonathan Comstock from the Cornell University Department of Horticulture. He will address shifting weather patterns and the related impacts on agricultural producers. Comstock is a climate change expert and is co-author of both the "Agriculture" and "Ecosystems" chapters of the recent New York ClimAID Report, which looks at climate change vulnerabilities and adaptation strategies.MSU experts will also be on hand to discuss irrigation, frost protection and changing weather patterns in Michigan.
On the second day of the event, participants will opt into two half-day sessions on the topics of their choice. "Scouting Techniques for Field Crops and Forages" is a morning session where participants will learn the basics of scouting for diseases, weeds and insects. The discussion will cover growth stages, life cycles, weather and time and show how each of these affects pests. In the afternoon, the focus will shift to emerging issues in field crop pesticide resistance. Several other sessions will be offered during the conference.
To get more information or to register, please visit here.
The cost is $225 per person. Snacks, lunch and parking are included. Lodging is not included, but special rates are available. Registration is open through Feb. 12, but space is limited.