If you've never lived around farms, it can be easy to miss just how much labor comes with every stage of the growing process. That's particularly true about harvesting, but these two pictures can give you a pretty good idea of just what you're missing.

The first picture above shows a Landsat image of the Nebraskan plains in late-summer, with the crops in full force. Just one month and a half later, right after those fields had been harvested, here's what that same Landsat view looked like:

Advertisement

How do we know it's from the harvest and not the impending winter die-off? Part of it is that it echoes what's seen on the ground. But, the other way is by the remaining green spots — mostly wheat fields — that are harvested a little later than the corn and soybeans.

Images: NASA Earth Observatory images by Jesse Allen, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey