Friday, October 31, 2014
   
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iPad app to help producers scout for soybean aphids

LINCOLN—Now is the time to scout for soybean aphids and a new University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension app can help do just that.

Aphid Speed Scout, which was produced for UNL Extension by EdMedia’s Mark Hendricks and others, is available in the iTunes store (search for aphid speed scout).

Aphid Speed Scout will make scouting for soybean aphids easier and faster, said Wayne Ohnesorg, UNL Extension educator in Madison County.

Ohnesorg said he got the idea for the app after he took his new Apple iPad/iPhone into the field—all part of a statewide UNL Extension effort to better use technology to teach, deliver and manage information.

Ohnesorg said he thought an app would help crop scouts better and more quickly scout for soybean aphids. He took his idea back to the office and began to work with UNL Extension entomologists Tom Hunt and Bob Wright to make Excel spreadsheets in which the app is based on. The spreadsheets process data input by crop scouts.

“The concept really is simple,” Ohnesorg said, and works like this:

Scouts go into a field, select a soybean plant at random and count the number of aphids on the plant.

If 40 aphids are counted, the scout stops counting and deems the plant infested. A “1” is entered in the app.

If the number is less than 40, a “0” is entered in the app. The scout does this 11 times.

When finished, Aphid Speed Scout tells scouts whether or not to advise producers to treat for soybean aphids, to come back in seven to 10 days for another test or to sample five more plants.

In addition, since the application is based on spreadsheets, people may download it to their smart phones, computers, etc., as well as iPads, Ohnesorg said.

Aphid Speed Scout is available as a UNL Extension Circular.

Plans also are underway to make spreadsheets and applications for first and second generation European corn borer and western bean cutworm.

Crop scouts and others may learn more about the application during regularly scheduled extension workshops.

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