What exactly does it mean when a field inspector gives you a call and says, “I plan to be in your fields this week, just giving you a heads up!” That inspector is going to be walking your fields, taking six, 1,000 plant counts per field looking for variety off-types, weed pressure and types of weeds, and making sure field isolation meets standards.
There are several field inspectors that start walking fields mid-June all the way through early October. Thousands of acres get covered for a variety of crops, wheat, seed corn, edible beans, and soybeans. Every field inspector gets properly trained and given tools before the summer begins. It is not uncommon that the inspectors call Chris a time or two during the day with questions.
So why do we need field inspectors? Well, each bag of seed a producer buys not only costs a lot but is also expected to uphold a high-quality standard. In order to have that high standard, we need field inspectors to make sure what is planted in the field holds true to the variety description, free of weeds and seed borne diseases and other contaminates.
It is a lot of long hours and hard work walking fields all day, especially in Michigan weather (when it’s 80 degrees in October). In the big picture of it all, we could not do what we do in agriculture without field inspectors!
To all of our past, present, and future field inspectors – thank you!
In the words of Chris Tiedje, “start each field on a blank slate, go in with an open mind and learn to know ‘the beast’”.