First of all, walk or drive around the perimeter of the field to assess for uniformity – no flowers should be seen and plants should not look grass green. Drive around again, stop and go into the crop at numerous points and pull pods from the bottom of the main stem, the middle and the top, as well as pods from secondary stems. The seeds in the pod on the bottom of the plant should be firm with some black seeds and most seeds with a spot of black or tan color. Seeds in the middle pods should be firm with most seeds also showing a spot of color change. In the top pods, seeds should be firm and not able to be squished between fingers. The odd seed may have a spot of color change. Seeds from pods on side stem should also be firm and have seeds with some color change. If the crop is ripening too fast or the edges are ripe and the middle green, swath the area that is ripe, potentially in the early morning when there is still dew on the pods, as this will reduce the amount of shelling out.
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