Harvest has begun, and the landscape is beautiful. Take a COVID-friendly roadtrip or scenic drive, and come experience a Delta sunset. City slicker? Here's an intro to some crops you'll see:
CORN is at the end of its season -- catch it in the next couple days before it's gone! It looks dead at harvest bc it needs to reach low moisture content to store, ship & process well. Much of Mississippi's corn feeds the chickens that feed you!
Dried corn for fuel and chickens looks different from grocery store corn! Harvest-in-progress in Coahoma County, Mississippi (c) Shared Experiences USA
SOYBEANS: ditto. Now you'll see green fields turning yellow, before farmers "defoliate" them for harvest. Exactly as it sounds: they spray chemical de-foliants to make plants turn brown and drop their leaves...which makes it easier for a combine to cut and harvest.
Soybeans begin the process of defoliation and drying in Coahoma County, Mississippi (c) Shared Experiences USA
COTTON is another crop that needs defoliation...but not yet! Most cotton fields are green, and beginning to turn. You'll see white fluffy cotton bolls (bolls, not balls) peeping beneath big green leaves. If you do see a field of brown, defoliated cotton, it's less than 2 weeks out from harvest. Congratulate that farmer on an early crop!
Soft white cotton blooms from a "boll" in Coahoma County, Mississippi (c) Shared Experiences USA
RICE is special to the Mississippi Delta: we grow over 90% of it in the state. It's a beautiful bright green until farmers cut off the water: it yellows and dries for harvest on its own. It's a short crop, and heavy grains bend the stalk toward the ground -- so it's tough for combines to harvest when wet. Farmers time their rice to finish in August-September, before the rains come. We're now entering peak harvest.
Rice dries a few weeks before harvest in Tunica County, Mississippi (c) Shared Experiences USA
Some parts of the country go leaf-peeping to appreciate Autumn and the changing of seasons. #TravelSouth, and you can farm-tour!
Get out and #Instaphoto a field now...then come back in a couple weeks and show us the before-and-after.
...Or don't do it for the 'gram -- just get out of the house, roll your windows down, and breathe deeply.
The country awaits.
John Deere defoliation in action, in cotton fields of Coahoma County, Mississippi (c) Shared Experiences USA
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