Monday, August 19, 2013

Rite of Passage in the Corn Belt

Everyone in Iowa should know what this vehicle does. It is a detasseling carrier where people (usually young teenagers) work for a few weeks in the summer removing tassels of certain rows of corn plants in order to produce seed corn. Crews generally work for contractors or directly for seed companies like Pioneer and Syngenta.

Some people call detasseling a rite of passage for young teens living in the corn belt. Detasseling provides work for teens, usually with their friends where they can earn a good wage for just a few weeks worth of effort. Note the taller corn row with tassels close to the carrier. That row will be the pollen source for the chopped and detassled smaller plants located in the foreground. Looks odd but it works out here in corn country.