Satellite Image of Circular Crop Fields in Kansas


Photo via Wikipedia. View larger.

This image has been making the rounds today: a photograph taken from outer space of a field in Kansas with lots of circles because the farmers are using central pivot irrigation. Definitely check out the larger version.

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  1. Helen

    I would completely hang this on my wall and tell everyone it was by some Chuck Close-y grid-based artist who was too cool for them to have ever heard of.

  2. Mikee

    A square field with sides = 2000 feet is 100 acres in size. A circular irrigated area in that field has area = 85.25 acres in size. So every irrigated square represents a "wasted" area almost 15% of the total arable land.

    The cost (in capital equipment, maintenence, or labor) of linear rolling irrigation versus circular rotating irrigation must therefore be greater than the cost of the potential production on the "lost" arable land.

    This is a business opportunity, to develop cheaper and reliable irrigation for square or rectangular fields.

    Either that, or arrange with the farmers to "close pack" their square irrigation into one central circle surrounded closely by 6 cirlces of the same size. A hexagonal pattern would allow much less waste of arable land (reducing unplanted land to about 8.2% of the area used).

    • Shaun

      Mikee, go watch how a circular irrigated system works, then explain how you could possibly make something more reliable or cheaper. The amount of money they save on labor alone is worth wasting a few corners.

  3. math is hard

    I have two words for the farm industry:

    hexagonal packing


  4. bc

    I literally typed in Kansas into maps on google and found this location within 3 minutes. It's Tice, KS. And once you zoom in, you'll notice the nice commercial feedlot just north of the road cutting through the image. This whole thing is so wrong on about a million levels...

  5. j

    Wow, I've seen this kind of thing from planes but never this many all together. They're so green! It's very pretty.

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