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Youth Crop Scouting Competition

youth inspecting soybean and corn fields
Event Date(s)
Event Time
University of Illinois Crop Sciences Research & Education Center

Are you up to the challenge?

In a corn or soybean field, knowing how crops are progressing or being able to identify an insect can mean the difference between a profitable harvest and a bad year. The Illinois Crop Scouting Competition is a one-day contest that challenges teams of students from across the state to test their field scouting knowledge hands-on with agricultural professionals from University of Illinois.

Teams of students (grades 9 through 12) accompanied by an adult advisor will rotate through 10 outdoor stations at the University of Illinois South Farm fields to test their skills hands-on with topics such as identifying weeds, insects, and diseases, identifying the growth stages of corn and soybean plants, assessing abiotic injury, pesticide application, and integrated pest management.

Judges will score each team, and cash prizes will be awarded to the top four scores. The top two teams will also advance to compete against students in other states and represent Illinois at the Midwestern regional competition.

Registration Deadline: June 30, 2023


Prize Levels

  • 1st Place: $500 per team
  • 2nd Place: $300 per team
  • 3rd Place: $200 per team
  • 4th Place: $100 per team


  • 8:00 AM: Check-In
  • 8:30 AM: Competition Begins
  • 1:30 PM: Competition Ends

 Lunch, beverages, and snacks will be provided. 


Once registered, teams should work with their coach to study regularly leading up to the competition. Review the below materials to help prepare.

  • IPM Curriculum: Integrated pest management presentations are available in both PDF and PowerPoint formats and include notes. Provided by Iowa State University.
  • Virtual Crop Scout School: The Virtual Crop Scout School consists of webinars from crop protection specialists at 11 Midwest universities and is offered through the Crop Protection Network. The series is free, registration is required to access.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to: identification and information about crop diseases, insects, weeds, abiotic disorders, herbicide injury, growth stages, parts of the plant, degree day computation, sprayer calibration, and sprayer issues. There will also be a test on crop scouting.

Questions? Contact program coordinator Talon Becker at

Programs Sponsors

  • Illinois Soybean Association (2022)
  • Illinois Certified Crop Advisors (2022) 
  • Growmark (2021) 
  • Illinois Corn (2021, 2022) 
  • Illinois Farm Bureau (2021) 
  • ProHarvest seeds, Eric Yoder (2021) 
  • East Central IL DeKalb/Asgrow Team (2021) 
  • Teejet
  • Department of Crop Sciences at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • College of ACES at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate, please contact