The Company’s Work Edit
- For the purposes of this document, the Company name will be referred to as BIG YELLOW SEEDS
GENERIC SEEDSCo. or just BIG YELLOW GENERIC SEEDS. You have just been hired as an executive assistant but you will also be assigned various other duties to keep you busy.
Company Objective Edit
- To develop new varieties of maize, beans, barley and triticale that have agronomic or other traits that are valued by both agricultural producers and end users.
- Some examples of desirable traits:
- High yield (desired by Agricultural Producers)
- Region in which the plant can be grown
- Number of ears per maize plant (baby corn canners prefer prolific varieties)
- Flour, flint or dent maize kernels (Machine harvest and Wet or Dry Milling)
- Seed size (canned beans 18g/100 seeds)
- Nutritional content (E.g. high lysine maize)
- Maize cob colour (?cosmeticians)
- Cold tolerance
- Disease resistance
- Pest resistance.
- Create new early maturing hybrid varieties of maize for the local area.
- Adaptation of maize varieties to local long day environment
- Creation of pure line maize inbreds
- Crossing of inbreds to create new hybrid varieties
- Evaluation of new hybrid varieties in Yield Trials
- Valuable Final Product(VFP): Plant Breeders' Rights to maize inbreds with desirable genetic traits and the licensing and sale of these maize inbreds and their hybrid combinations.
A good example of possible maize goals for researchers can be found at the North Dakota State University website. 
The goals of the Pioneer Maize Research team may be found here:
The main breeding goal of HarvestPlus is to breed crops that contain increased levels of micronutrients and are more nutritious for people. HarvestPlus is concentrating on iron, zinc and Vitamin A. It has developed
- Iron Beans
- Iron Pearl Millet
- Vitamin A Cassava
- Vitamin A Maize
- Vitamin A Sweet Potato
- Zinc Rice
- Zinc Wheat
The links to the breeding goals of private companies are mentioned here as publicly available examples of possible breeding goals and are not part of any form of industrial espionage or related competitive activity. A very long list of possible breeding goals is possible and should be put online (here if desired) and in a digitized list since a computer has no problem remembering hundreds of things at the same time.
The adapting maize is grown in small isolated plots in fields scattered throughout the local region. It’s usually referred to as a POPULATION with a specific family name. E.g. The LEAMING POPULATION, The R8W (pronounced ‘R eight way’) POPULATION or the LANCASTER POPULATION. There are about a dozen of these POPULATIONS. A few of the POPULATIONS such as the MIDLAND POPULATION are no longer being grown in an isolated field but are being grown in what is called the SIBBING NURSERY.
- For each crop type, the Company also maintains blocks of rows that are referred to as NURSERIES. These nurseries are usually all in one field that I will refer to as the MAIN SITE.The INBREEDING NURSERY is a maize nursery where inbred maize is grown in rows and is selfed for about 7 years. After that time, the inbreds are grown to maintain a seed stock of what is called a PURE LINE. The SIBBING NURSERY is a maize nursery in which material belonging to the same maize family is crossed together within a block of rows. Selected ears from the Sibbing Nursery will be put in the Inbreeding Nursery to be selfed.
- There are several isolated fields of maize grown offsite known as CROSSING BLOCKS.They are used to cross maize plants together by Detasseling all of the plants in the field except a designated pollinator (male) and only allowing that pollinator to shed pollen on all of the detasseled inbreds (females).
- There is usually a block of maize rows on the main site referred to as the HAND CROSSING BLOCK. The material in this block is crossed together by hand and the tassels are not removed.
- There are YIELD TRIALS grown for each crop type. The maize YIELD TRIALS are grown in a large block usually of 2 row plots but sometimes there have been long 4 row strips grown that are called STRIP TRIALS.
- There may also be WINTER NURSERY AND CROSSING BLOCK work done in another hemisphere during the winter months. Seed will need to be shipped immediately after it has been inventoried and packaged. Information on flowering dates and instructions regarding the work to be done will also have to be sent.
- Create and select new bean varieties
- Crossing of bean varieties to create new varieties
- Selection of desirable bean plants from segregating material
- Growing and roguing bean varieties until pure
- Evaluation of new bean varieties in Yield Trials
- VFP: Plant Breeders' Rights to sell and license pure lines of high yielding, disease and pest resistant beans.
- The BEAN NURSERY is a nursery in which bean plants are grown in two-row plots, rated and selected from. There are also BEAN OBSERVATION ROWS grown to increase available seed of bean varieties grown in the BEAN NURSERY and to continue evaluation of the varieties.
- THERE are two types of BEAN YIELD TRIALS grown.The BEAN YIELD TRIALS have been grown in long two and four-row plots, sometimes about 200 ft. long and sometimes only about 100 ft. long separated by a path at the center.
The other type of BEAN YIELD TRIAL is the SOLID SEEDED BEAN YIELD TRIAL which is planted with a grain drill.
- Crossing work for the beans has usually been done indoors during the winter months but occasionally it was done in the field with limited success.
- Create and select new Barley and Triticale varieties
- Cross different varieties together
- Select heads of desirable cereal plants from segregating material
- Grow and rogue new cereal varieties until pure
- Evaluate new cereal varieties in Yield Trials
- Development of forage Barley and Triticale lines
- VFP: Breeders' Rights to the licensing and sale of high yielding, nutritious forage barley and triticale lines for use as animal feed.
- The Triticale and Barley material is usually referred to by the type of plot that is grown. There are HEADROWS that are about 6 ft. long and about 6 in. wide with a gap of about 1 ft to 2 ft between each end. These are plants grown from the seed of a single head. There are also very long rows called OBSERVATION ROWS separated by a 1 ft. to 2 ft. gap. These are usually a bulk of seed from a single headrow that is being grown to increase the amount of seed available so that the variety can be grown as a YIELD TRIAL. The CEREAL YIELD TRIALS are planted with a grain drill and are grown in strips about 6 ft. wide and maybe 50 ft. long, separated by a space of about 3 ft. There are also similar plots that grow seed of different cereal families that are called GERMPLASM PLOTS.
- The cereals were usually crossed in the field but this can also be done indoors.
There may also be SEED PRODUCTION FIELDS for each crop type where seed of a variety is being grown to increase seed for sale to a seed company or producers. These notes don’t include information regarding the seed production fields.
Yearly Work Cycle Gannt Chart Edit
Gannt Chart.....TO BE CREATED
Local Area (latitude 49 N)
Cereals (used herein to refer to Barley and Triticale but technically maize is also a cereal)
Seed Preparation:mid to last week of April
Planting: Planted before Maize.Possibly last week of April but usually first or second week of May.
Pollination in field: June or July
Harvest: mid to late August.
Shipment to sites in opposite hemisphere:possible
Seed Preparation: Seed of females for Crossing blocks can be prepared early in January to March. Most of work done from March to the first week of May.
Planting: Depending on weather and soil conditions. Mainly 2nd week of May with some material for isolated populations planted early in first week of May.
Order of Maize planting:
- A few isolated, adapting Populations
- Yield Trials
- The rest of the isolated, adapting populations
- Isolated Crossing Blocks
- Hand Crossing Block
- Sibbing Nursery
- All maize material should be planted before end of May.
Pollination in field: Approximately first week of July to about first week of August.
Harvest: Isolated Populations based on maturity (usually around 2nd or third week of September).Inbreds about end of September.Yield Trials harvested just prior to Thanksgiving (first week of October).
Shipment to sites in opposite hemisphere: Mid to late September and early October
Seed Preparation: Possibly early work in Jan.- Feb. - Mainly March to May.
Planting: Third week of May to first week of June
Planting (Greenhouse): About mid November or early December.
Pollination in field: around July depending on the flowering time of each variety
Pollination in greenhouse: Usually in about January or February.
Harvest: late August to first or second week of September.
Shipment to sites in opposite hemisphere: possible
A permanent core staff is suggested of about 4 - 6 people.
The shoestring budget work was done with 2 permanent staff members and half a dozen temporary workers to assist with thinning, pollinations, and harvest work.
- Facility/Project Manager:
- Plant Breeder: Can be offsite as an advisor. It is best to let this person excel in observing the plants and thinking about and devising ways to improve the germplasm.There is some benefit in occasionally involving the Plant Breeder in manual field labor as part of observation work. Also read the E-Brida interview with a Plant Breeder that breeds ornamental plants 
- "What do you spend most of your time on when you are working?
- On making and analysing observations. During the season this takes up about 80% of your time. The perfect integration with scoring perceptions using a PDA with E-Brida saves an enormous amount of time. During peaks it leaves you more time to make your analysis instantly."
- Secretary/Executive Assistant/Data Entry Clerk/Database Administrator/Financial Bookkeeper
- Duties will include:
- Company mail pickup and distribution
- Preparation and sending of letters, reports etc. by various means
- Shipping and receiving of seed to other places with necessary documents
- (Until a Treasury Division is established)
- Balance one or more company checkbooks
- Monthly Bank Reconciliation  (Helpful explanation courtesy of AccountingCoach.com)
- Preparation and publishing of a monthly expenses report
- Posting financial transactions to computerized accounting system
- Ordering supplies and work with a customs brokerage company to have supplies delivered from a foreign country without problems or delays
- Paying bills
- Bank deposits
- Note: It is best to assign the tasks of depositing money and payment of bills to different people
- (Until an IT department is established)
- Maintain company breeding database and related computer files
- Preparation, data entry and publishing (electronic and/or paper) of all Seedlists for planting, Notebooks, Harvest Inventories and Yield Trial Reports, Storage envelope labels etc. using Plant Breeding software or common database and spreadsheet programs.
- Field work
- Hiring and supervising field workers
- Tractor Operator
- The Tractor Operator's expertise should encompass not only the operation and preventive maintenance of the tractor and use of field implements but also an extensive and integrated Agronomic knowledge and wisdom.In some areas of the world where tractors are not used this might be better expressed as Preparer(s) of the seedbed or something similar.
- Planting using hand/jab planters
- Planting seed on mechanized planter with cones (either envelopes or plastic seed trays and electric indexer).
- Thinners: (until a vacuum planter is purchased)
- Use hoes to create evenly spaced plants in rows of the desired number of plants
- Manual harvest workers or a Research Combine Harvester and trained operator.
- Shellers/Packagers/Inventory clerks/Shippers
See Ch. 10: TEAMWORK, "Observing the Universe: A Guide to Observational Astronomy and Planetary Science", edited by Andrew J. Norton, The Open University, Milton Keynes
Eventually, this reference will be put in the discussion section.An excellent example of the pragmatic type of material I would like to see in this HowTo Wiki.
from the bookfair catalogue at http://www.cambridge.org/us/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=0521603935
"In this book, we will discuss a variety of aspects of [observational astronomy and planetary science], with the aim of providing a sound basis for tackling projects in practice." I added the bold characters for emphasis.
- The square brackets in the quotes above and below have been added to denote words that could be replaced with other words related to plant breeding and plant breeding operations.
"Observing [the Universe] introduces a range of techniques and skills that will be useful for those wishing to undertake observational work in [astronomy and planetary science]. It covers the principles of [telescopes and detectors, photometry and spectroscopy], microscopy techniques for analyzing samples, teamwork skills, planning for a [session at an observatory], keeping records of what you do, estimating uncertainties in measurements, analyzing data numerically and graphically, and producing a written report. Fully self-contained, this is a valuable guide for [undergraduate students of astronomy and planetary science], and serious amateur [astronomers]."
- Part 1: Techniques
- Part 2: Skills
Supervised Agricultural Experience Edit
- NOT CHEAP LABOUR
- Future Farmers of America
- Woodland High FFA photo album
- Supervised Agricultural Experience: Revisiting Supervised Agricultural Experience
- AEE 522 Occupational Experience in Agriculture
- National Agricultural Education Research Conference
,December 11, 1999
- Memory Practices in the Sciences by Geoffrey C. Bowker
- Hu Cards - scanned in but not accessible
Confidentiality,Trade Secrets and Related Matters Edit
- It is assumed that all staff members of Big Yellow Seeds
Generic Seedsshall regard all information and practices acquired while in the employ of the company to be confidential. Big Yellow Seeds Generic Seedsregards its practices and pedigrees as open source but clients of Generic Seedsmay be very concerned about breaches of trust regarding their practices and any information regarding pedigrees that one may be given access to.
- High ethical standards of behavior need to be adhered to.There is a serious conflict of interest in being an independent plant breeding company working for other plant breeding companies.A spirit of cooperation needs to be promoted and maintained. It can be very tempting to acquire genetic material that is supposed to be destroyed after testing but such a 'break' will destroy good relations with other companies and put Big Yellow Seeds
Generic Seedsout of business faster than using an illegal, unregistered herbicide. Also, never forget to acknowledge the receipt of seed from others when releasing and patenting new varieties involving crosses to the received germplasm. Often this germplasm was acquired under contracts that state specifically that Big Yellow Seeds Generic Seedswill publicly acknowledge any use in a cross of the germplasm obtained.
Steps to get Started Edit
● Get an overview of the workplace and equipment. Familiarize yourself with the workplace and equipment.
● Go to the seed room and look at the labels on seed packets of different Nurseries and Crossing Blocks.
● Look over some old inventory lists, family lists, new designations and abbreviations lists.
● Know the two inventory list formats.
● Know the difference between a SEEDLIST and an INVENTORY of seed pedigrees.
● Know the fundamentals of working with a computer, spreadsheet and database software.
● Take a look at some of the existing database and spreadsheet files.
● Look at a completed SEEDLIST for the Inbreeding Nursery
● Read Notes pertaining to creating Seedlists.
● Create a seedlist for the Inbreeding Nursery.
● Look at a completed Yield Trial (Test) Seedlist.
● Create a Yield Trial (Test) Seedlist.
● Create a seedlist for a crossing block.
● Create a seedlist for a hand pollination nursery.
● Look at examples of Planting Plans.
● Create Planting Plans.
● Create a Yield Trial Field Planting Tray Checksheet Matrix.
● Create a Yield Trial plot # to harvest # matching, assuming clockwise harvest from bottom left side being plot #1.
● Create Notebook pages.
● Enter observation data.
● Enter harvest data.
● Create Yield Trial data and averages summary.
● Create Yield Trial cover letter.
● Send Yield Trial cover letter, observation data, averages summary and statistical analysis to the client.
● Create inventories.