07 December 2017 Read: 125
Over the years, it has become more evident that the role of a crop scout is a fundamental economical prerequisite to pest management. Crop scouting has gone from being a very basic action of travelling through the field making general observations, to now being a detailed analysis, capturing all and any threats encountered. Scouts are now being equipped with technology to ensure accuracy and trained to include a large variety of pests and diseases. The role of the scout has become one of the most important on a crop production farm, as a little bit of negligence can cost a farmer his entire season’s yield. Training and certification of crop scouts has now even been added to the list of prerequisites of standards for GLOBALGAP Certification.
“Scouting fields for weeds, disease and pests is one of the best investments you can make during the growing season to protect crop yield potential.” – Missy Bauer, Farm Journal associate field agronomist.
It is with the same approach the Novon NRC, who believes in a partnership approach, has now added training to their list of ‘Value-added services’ for their clientele. The modules include training for Scouting and Handling of Chemicals.
On 7 November, Novon NRC, Limpopo, presented their course to the scouts on Westfalia’s Macnoon farm, situated outside Modjadjiskloof. Presented by Entomologist Hein Gebhardt, the scouts were introduced to a full spectrum of pests that threatened the crops that they handle, even those that are not encountered on a daily basis. The course takes it further by explaining how to recognize the various stages of the pests by teaching them about the full life-cycle of each pest. They are also taught how to recognize the different categories, by focusing on the mouth parts such as those that pierce, suck or lick. Novon’s training gives the scouts the skills to be able to assess more accurately allowing the farmer to make a more informed decision on pest management, disease control and interventions thus giving more control over crop performance and risk evaluation. Gebhardt also teaches the scouts about the difference between predators and parasites, the pests and beneficial insects, how to use scouting tools, knowing where to scout for specific problems, recording data correctly and reporting problem areas.
Novon NRC follows an Intergrated Pest Management (IPM) and partnership approach, creating a long term relationship between the farmer and provider. By placing focus on the farmer’s end goal and yield. By implementing optimal personalised solutions the journey together remains focused on a mutual goal throughout. The training doesn’t offer a ‘shallow’ value-added service but enriches the relationships within a farm’s own structure as the staff have not only been educated but are being enriched and therefore feel truly valued as a result. Feeling valued is key to improving an employee’s commitment, outcome and results, thus strengthening the relationships of all working together.
For more information on Novon NRC, scout training and handling of chemicals training please contact Dawie Grobbelaar Jnr. on 082 456 7269 or Dawie Grobbelaar Snr on 082 809 5445.