MOORES HILL, Ind. — One of a farmer’s biggest assets is their crops or livestock, depending on what type of production agriculture operation they have.

At a recent conservation tillage field day, agronomist Steve Gauck talked about how it is important for farmers to keep things basic, so producers can make money from farming, which is why it is essential that they do a good job when scouting their fields.

Many farmers’ definition of scouting, he noted, is either done while sitting on the hood of a pickup truck or while up in the combine.

He added that everything may look good from the road, but that is not always the case, and if there is a problem, typically it is just chalked up to being related to the seed, whether it really is or not.

That’s why farmers need to use their farm scouting reports, Gauck stressed, which is created by walking the fields several times throughout the year, including in the fall.

A farmer needs to be scouting when cover crops come up, he added, to see if the planter was set for the correct spacing, how emergence is coming along, insect pressure and if the weeds in the field are under control.

“There would still be time to correct it and rescue the yield,” he said.

Another good time to scout fields is mid-year, when the corn crop is about knee-high, because there still is time to attempt to fix any problems that a producer may have, including nitrogen management issues, which may occur if a farmer did not apply enough at the beginning of the season, Gauck said.

He added that if the crop can’t be saved, while the producer is scouting the field, they can try to pinpoint what went wrong, so they can adjust their plans before planting next year.

Going out and scouting late in the season, the agronomist mentioned, is the time period when individuals need to be on the lookout for diseases in their crops and spray fungicides if necessary.

Overall, Gauck stressed, scouting will only be a valuable tool to farmers if they use it to their advantage and adjust their fields and planting plans, according to what they find when walking through their acreage.