Day 135

Center-pivot irrigation

August 8th, 2010

This is why you see circular (or semicircular, or semisemicircular) fields in aerial photos of this region.


  1. Ron says:

    I think the aliens did it! (First comment!)

  2. Donna in MI says:

    Well, it’s about time Matt. We’ve all been waiting for our daily “Fix”. You’ve been under the “radar” for a few days. My uncles have farms out in the Spokane area and this is how they water their farms.

  3. hks says:

    So I guess they are NOT nuclear silos?
    Flying out west you see these circular fields all the time in the middle of nowhere and when my kids asked me what they were, I told them they there nuclear silos! :D
    Oh well, thanks Matt for finding our the truth.

  4. Looking at all that equipment and how much it must cost…there must be some “bucks” in those crops out there…thanks again to farmers…

  5. Candice In Alabama says:

    I like the perspective of this image. Also, what is the crop?

  6. katzien in austin says:

    It takes about 2 days for the whole thing to go around once. I heard that somewhere, so I could be wrong.

  7. deanna valenti meyer says:

    That’s totally interesting! Leave it to an engineer to give us this inside scoop. :)

  8. jeff says:

    No is the aliens, it is the aliens…… Who would of figured..because they water the crops in circles.

  9. JuJu says:

    For anyone flying over Denmark,12.401977&spn=0.005486,0.021136&z=16

    Probably the hometown to the inventor of circular irrigation?

    • hks says:

      wow, those are walls( or thick hedges) that look like bicycle spokes between each house

      • JuJu says:

        I dropped the little yellow man down on street view on the motorway and it is certainly is a well maintained boxwood or similar. I wonder if each homeowner must maintain their side?

  10. Michelle says:

    This is probably an alfalfa field, for hay.

    They have some serious set-ups that have three wheels in hilly areas for the pivots to climb those. Be warned though, they usually pump chemicals into the water to spray on stuff, so while standing under one to cool off sounds like a good idea?

    Not so much. :)

  11. Michelle says:

    PS: Predecessor to these behemoths are either the hand lines, that kids used to get hired to move during the summer, or these wheel lines.

  12. Dorinda from Mentor, Oh. says:

    Interesting. Looks like a whole lotta work for farmers. Gives me more of an appreciation for all that they go through for us to have good food. I wonder though, are they all taken apart for the winter so they don’t get ruined? That just adds to all the work of a farmer. Wow.

    • Brad says:

      I spent a summer during college building these in MS. They aren’t taken down and put back up. Once built they stay in the field. And the farmer doesn’t put them up; he buys them from an irrigation company, and the price includes assembly.

  13. Jonathan says:

    AHA! Every time I fly from Chicago to the West Coast, I see these fields and wonder what’s going on.

  14. Linda in Michigan says:

    Now I know! I’ve often asked why the fields looked round when flying over and now I feel very knowledgeable. Thanks!

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