What is detasseling?
Detasseling is the crucial last step in producing hybrid corn seed. It involves removing the pollen producing top part of the plant (the tassel) so the corn cannot pollinate itself. Pollen from another variety of corn grown in the same field will then be carried by the wind to pollinate the corn that has been detasseled. The result is a hybrid corn seed which produces healthier crops with higher yields.
Why do we detassel?
Machines go through the field before our crews do and remove a percentage of the tassels, but there is still a great need for manual labor to finish the job.
How much do I get paid?
Hourly wages for Ailes Detasseling workers, range from minimum wage up to $15.00 per hour. Pay is based on how hard you work. Under our pay system, whether you are a first year detasseler or a seasoned detasseler, everyone has the same opportunity to be a top wage earner.
We offer an incentive pay system, based on total completed cornrows. Come to our drive thru meetings to find out more information about this effective incentive system. Any incentive money earned is paid on your final check at the end of the season.
Ailes Detasseling [TA DET, INC] hours are paid every two weeks.
We do offer an incentive payment for past detasselers that recruit their friends to work.
*** Recruiting Bonus: All returning detasselers can earn $25 for each person they recruit who is 14 or older. You both must work at least 90% of the season to receive this bonus. You must inform us of each person you recruit and make sure this information gets documented at the time the recruited individual fills out their employment paperwork.
You don’t have to be a certain age to qualify for a spot on one of our top crews. If we see an exceptional picker, even as young as 13 years old, we will bump them up to one of our top crews. In the past, we bumped a 13 year old girl up to a top crew and she earned $1902 for the season. However, to be honest, this is the exception rather than the rule. Some companies limit their top crews to a certain age requirement, but Ailes Detasseling does not believe in limiting the potential to earn money for any of our workers!
When is detasseling?
Detasseling season begins in early July and is usually wrapped up by the first week of August. Some seasons could be longer than others.
How old do I have to be?
You must be at least 13 years of age.
How tall do I have to be?
You must be at least 5’2″ tall. Your height should be measured with your shoes OFF!
How long is the detasseling season?
Once detasseling starts, we work 12 – 21 (possibly longer) consecutive days, including Saturdays and Sundays.
How long is a detasseling day?
Last season the average time worked in the field was 6 ½ – 7 ½ hours. Our longest day returning to Lincoln was 5:00 p.m. and our shortest day returning was 11:00 a.m.
Typically pickup times are 5am each morning and official times for all locations will be posted July 1st of each summer.
No specific hours are guaranteed. There are too many variables regarding the detasseling season making it impossible to guarantee a certain number of hours.
Younger and first year detasselers may not work every day, depending upon the workload.
Do we work in the rain?
Detasselers do work in the rain (as long as it is not lightning). Be assured, Ailes Detasseling nor the seed companies we work for will ever put your child in a dangerous situation. You are paid minimum wage if we have to sit on the bus to wait out a storm.
Show up to your bus stop even if it’s raining in the morning.
Is transportation provided?
Travel is provided to and from the cornfields on buses driven by supervisors who hold certified Commercial Drivers Licenses. You will be picked up and dropped off every day at the location you selected on your application form. You must be able to get to and home from your pick up site. No phone service will be provided, by Ailes Detasseling, for detasselers to call their parents for a ride home in the afternoon.
Approximate daily return times for buses will be communicated via text message . We do our best to give approximate times that buses will return to Lincoln, but please understand that traffic and other factors could influence return times, even after an approximate time has been texted out. We do our best to be as accurate as possible and update return times as necessary. Instructions on how to opt into our text messaging system will be made available as the season gets closer. Thanks for your understanding in this matter.
Are there safety precautions?
If you have asthma, consult with your doctor prior to apply for detasseling to discuss if this job is appropriate for you. We will need a doctor’s note that states you are medically cleared to perform the task of detasseling. Please bring a doctor’s note with you to the drive-thru drop-off you choose to attend.
There is at least one port-a-potty at every field. They are normally equipped with soap and water for hand washing.
Safety is both Pioneer (Corteva) Seed Company and Monsanto (Bayer) Seed Company’s highest priority! All of our supervisors are trained in safety procedures, including CPR and first aid.
***Gloves, safety glasses, protective hats and netting to cover the face are provided to all workers. These items must be brought to work everyday!
Safety rules are strictly enforced! Termination of employment is very possible if rules are not followed and abided by.
Automatic termination of employment will result from the following:
- Refusing to submit to authority
- Any kind of illegal activity
- Foul or abusive language
- Disrespect for fellow crew members or their property
- Throwing anything out of a bus window
- Throwing tassels in the cornfield
- Any other behavior/action deemed inappropriate by Ailes Detasseling or seed company representatives
Who is supervising?
Our supervisors are screened before hire and also subject to random drug testing during the detasseling season. Travel is provided to and from the cornfields on buses driven by supervisors who hold certified Commercial Drivers Licenses.
We have supervisors that teach school at Lincoln Christian School, Wysong Elementary, Waverly Middle School, Norris High School, Norris Middle School, Lincoln Catholic Schools and Southwest High School.
Who does Ailes Detasseling contract with?
We contract acres with two of the largest seed companies in the United States, Pioneer Hi-Bred (Corteva) and Monsanto (Bayer) Seed companies.
Does Ailes Detasseling do roguing too?
Yes. A rogue is an offtype corn plant. Workers walk through the cornfield, identifying rogue plants and cutting them out. This is a fast paced activity and consists of a small crew of workers. This work happens in late June and early July, and before the detasseling season begins. Workers that participate in roguing also commit to the detasseling season.