Just like that summer is over and our agronomy interns are headed back to Iowa State University to start their sophomore year. Before Derick Sandburg and Bryce Waters return to lectures and textbooks, we caught up with them as they reflected on their summer crop scouting internship.
Each started the summer heading up a research project at one of our test plots. Waters focused on a soybean trial comparing the effectiveness of three different treatments to prevent sudden death syndrome (SDS) and cyst nematodes.
“We won’t know for sure until the crop comes out of the field, but my hypothesis was that the one with the most treatments will be the best yielding,” said Waters.
Waters’ project included two different varieties of soybeans and three different treatments: Saltro, ILeVO and Trunemco. Saltro and ILeVO both offer SDS and nematode protection while Trunemco is a new nematode protectant.
Sandburg, on the other hand, looked at Xyway‘s ability to protect corn yields while providing economic benefits. “Xyway is an in-furrow fungicide designed to give season-long disease protection for corn,” explained Sandburg.
Learning by Doing
While their projects were a major focus during their summer crop scouting internship, Sandburg and Waters also conducted tissue sampling weekly to compare nutrients in the plants and scouted for diseases, insects and weeds. “One thing I learned was becoming familiar with different diseases and pests for the region as well as being able to identify and recall them,” said Waters.
Similar to Waters, Sandburg felt like he learned how to thoroughly walk a field and identify weeds, insects and the damage they cause. Additionally, both agreed that they became better communicators throughout the summer. “My problem solving and communication skills worked well together from identifying what’s happening in the fields and then communicating it to farmers and co-workers,” said Sandburg.
Even in their short time at Stutsman’s this summer, Sandburg and Waters experienced the Stutsman difference firsthand. “Each week we met with a head of a department and were able to learn about the family-oriented values within the company,” said Waters. “I felt like if I needed help, they’d either have the answer or help you find the answer.”
Advice for Future Interns
Sandburg also offered some advice to future interns: “ask as many questions as you can and to go into every day with a positive attitude.”
As Sandburg and Waters head back to Iowa State University, we want to thank them for their summer of serving for success and wish them all the best as they continue their journey in the agricultural industry.