Orbital View: Musical Montana

It's been a while... #montana #instadaily

A photo posted by The Jefferson Grid (@the.jefferson.grid) on

It’s no Taylor Swift corn maze, but this crop area in Pray, Montana, looks rather musical. One Instagram user says it resembles a turntable. Another says it looks like shattered vinyl. What do you think?

Update from a reader in Iowa:

What you are looking at is a center pivot irrigator watering a feed crop such as alfalfa. The harvesting crew is visible at about 2 o’clock on the outer rim of the circle. They have worked their way around the wheel ruts of the center pivot, the center pivot itself (the tone arm), and the drainage that runs through the northern section of the field which is most likely to rough to harvest. My guess is that animals will be turned out to graze that part of the field.

The crop is cut and laid out in windrows to dry prior to being baled on a second pass through the field. The rhomboid field on the top right is fully cut and ready for baling. This nutrient-rich animal feed supplements the very sparse ground cover and allows farmers and ranchers to carry many more animals per acre than the climate would naturally allow.

In case you are really interested in center pivot irrigators:

The technology is getting pretty advanced. There are smartphone apps that allow farmers to monitor their fields for both operation of the irrigators (is a sprinkler not working) and also for the moisture content on the ground.  Unfortunately, it is still novel enough that any chance they get (at least the ones I know) they will show it to you. Almost as boring as watching someone play Tetris.