WSCIA acts as a third party verifier that a field meets all applicable standards; standards that both the grower and contractor have made a commitment to adhere to. Unlike a roguing crew covering every row of a field, the inspector takes a ‘snapshot’ of the field and bases the decision to pass or reject on observations and plant counts taken while traversing the field.
Seedling Inspections are conducted when seed production fields do not meet the land standards for certified seed production. Land standards are specific to the crop and class being produced and can be found in chapter 16-302 of the Washington Administrative Code (summarized in the WSCIA Guide to Seed Certification). General land minimums are presented in the table below. For example, production of Certified or Registered small grains requires the land must not have been planted to another variety of the same crop for one year. This requirement can be waived, however, if the field passes a seedling inspection, or if the previous crop was an equal or higher certified class of seed of the same variety.
|Land Minimum Years by Crop*|
|Class||Small Grains||Lentil||Chickpea||Field Pea**|
|*Land requirements may be waived if the previous crop is the same variety and passes certification field standards of the same or higher generation, or if a seedling inspection is performed.|
**Spring peas also require 10 years with no production of Austrian pea for all classes
Seedling inspections are to be done at the 3-4 leaf stage, but no later than at 6’’ of plant height and/or no plant canopy. When the field is inspected, we are looking for volunteer crop that would contaminate the varietal purity of the seed crop being grown in the field. Plants in and out of the seed row are examined to determine if they are volunteer from the previous crop, or if they are in fact representative of the currently-planted variety. A waiver of land history will only be granted if WSCIA inspectors conclude that the cultural practices used in the field have been sufficient to ensure varietal purity.
The cost of seedling inspections is $2.60 per acre, and the Application for Seedling Field Inspection may be downloaded and submitted to the WSCIA office. A seedling inspection is not an assurance that the crop will pass the pre-harvest Field Inspection for Certification.