A New Year, New Field

The field inspection season begins around mid-June and typically lasts until the beginning of October. Wheat inspections, along with other miscellaneous grain fields, will begin around 4 weeks before harvest and last a few weeks verifying genetic purity. Next are soybeans. Soybean inspections begin at R2 growth stage to verify blossom color and will usually last about 3 weeks, depending on planting date and maturity. Seed corn is always fun, trying to find a walking pattern though the tall plants. Each seed corn field is inspected 4 to 5 times after tassel emergence. Irrigation tracks and lanes are always helpful. Dry bean inspections will soon follow, making sure no trace of blight is found in seed fields prior to harvest. Before soybean harvest in the fall, we will have to re-inspect the same fields we walked at R2 to check pubescence color or off-types. The primary focus of inspection is genetics, but inspectors also check for restricted, prohibited, and common weeds. During the inspection season, it’s not uncommon to walk between 22,000 to 25,000 or more steps in one day. *Field inspection tip: have comfortable shoes, drink lots of water, and never miss an opportunity to take a good picture.