This recently planted field of Barley belongs to Three S Ranch, one of the larger farming operations near Blanca. This area grows some of the best barley which is sold to Coors Brewing company for use in making beer.
The field, like most in the area, is irrigated with a center pivot sprinkler irrigation system. The central area is connected to a well which supplies water to the field through the sprinkler which gradually rolls in a circle to cover the whole field.
Most of the fields cover a quarter section, 160 acres. But because of the circular nature of the irrigation system, the corners of the fields are rarely planted. The actual crop circles are about 125 acres.
Once the barley is harvested it is shipped out of the Valley by rail. Loading the rail cars requires the work of several men and machines.
The mountains in the background of the top picture are a part of the southern Sangre de Cristo Range of Colorado.
© Jean Butler 2014
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