On-farm trials were conducted in 16 North Carolina peanut fields to obtain estimates of scouting times and quality of herbicide recommendations for different weed scouting methods. The fields were monitored for weed species and population density using four scouting methods: windshield (estimate made from the edge of the field), whole-field (estimate based on walk through the field), range (weed densities rated on 1–5 scale at six locations in the field), and counts (weeds estimated by counting at six locations in the field). The herbicide application decision support system (HADSS) was used to determine theoretical net return over herbicide investment and yield loss ($ and %) for each treatment in each field. Three scouts estimated average weed population densities using each scouting method. These values were entered into HADSS to obtain treatment recommendations. Independently collected count data from all three scouts were combined to determine the optimal treatment in each field and the relative ranking of each available treatment. When using the whole-field method, scouts observed a greater number of weed species than when using the other methods. The windshield, whole-field, and range scouting methods tended to overestimate density slightly at low densities and underestimate density substantially at high densities, compared to the count method. The windshield method required the least amount of time to complete (6 min per field), but also resulted in the greatest average loss. Even for this method, recommendations had theoretical net returns within 10% of the return for the optimal treatment 80% of the time. The count method appears to have less economic risk than the windshield, whole-field, and range scouting methods.
Nomenclature: Peanut, Arachis hypogaea L