Saturday, June 6, 2009

Scouting Cereal

I became a pretty good cereal scout this winter. It got down to mini wheats and raisin bran, both are pretty hard to beat in taste. My heart and palate just can't take any more cheerios!

That is not my point though today. We are scouting on the cereal crops in Ohio that will be sold as Certified Seed.

Certification is 100 years old and guarantees that "what is in the bag is on the tag."

I was trained in 1985 in a fluke as one of my students couldn't take this summer job because he was offered to be paid to attend to Elsie the Cow at exhibits across the country.

It is a great part time job. You get schooling each year so you get permission to wander across other farmers fields! Actually it is primarily doing six different 500 plant counts or 3M for 3000 plants counted for seed certification. You compare what you see to the breeder's description.

We also note field conditions, border problems and try to identify any pest we find and a rating as to its threat. A producer really gets a good third party, independent evaluation of their fields for certification.

Hopewell and Bravo are two of the most popular certified soft red winter wheat varieties in Ohio. Bravo is an early beardless wheat that is allowed .5% awned or beardless blue-green or tall heads. We count those in our 3,000 head counts and make our report.

Hopewell is a dark green wheat that turns red at harvest. Hopewell can have up to 6/1000 bearded, tall or blue green heads and still certify.

Ohio is in oat, barley, spelt and wheat inspection right now as it is heading out as winter cereal grain crops do at this time of year. Harvest is right around the corn.

We will start flower inspection of soybeans soon. There are more acres to inspect this year because of the interest by farmers in non genetically modified organism soybeans.

Some of the certified scouts are pushing 80 years old because scouting is fun if you enjoy walking fields.



  1. Perhaps you would like to spend a few days out west scouting and rouging the off types in our Brundage seed wheat. The peas and beans will also need to be checked twice also. Once while growing and then after they have been cut and windrowed.

    I told you I follow this most every day

  2. We don't get paid for rouging, Brian! I always pull out rouges as a habit as a child as I am walking across a field but I don't rouge for a living! You need a good crew of people to do that effectively. Here, cereal rye in a non cereal rye field would be a good example of rouging. I appreciate your comments, you readers keep me on the ball.