Crops inspire astronaut to go full circle

22:31, Apr 04 2013
crop circles
Similar crop circles can be seen on Marama Rd near Seddon (SH1 in green, red pointer marks Seddon)

Green feed crops growing in the Waihopai Valley are providing plane and helicopter pilots with a view of giant circles that are even visible from space.

Marlborough Express photographer Derek Flynn took a photo of the giant circles during a flight in a small plane as part of the buildup to the Classic Fighters airshow last weekend.

Then yesterday, International Space Station commander Chris Hadfield tweeted a picture of Marlborough from outer space, with the circular crops visible to the left (south) of Blenheim.

View from space
The photo International Space Station commander Chris Hadfield tweeted

Commander Hadfield has tweeted amazing pictures of geographic features on the Earth from his position on the space station as it orbits the globe. His Twitter account is @Cmdr-Hadfield.

The Waihopai Valley crops are grown on land next to vineyards owned by Ara.

Ara spokesman Matthew Adams said the company owned the adjacent land and were leasing it out to Dave and Phil's Big Bale Contracting to grow green feed crops. Previously, rapeseed had been grown there for biofuels. Ara is planting another 70 hectares of grapes alongside.

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Crop circles
Irrigated crops growing in the Waihopai Valley are visible from space

Dave and Phil's Big Bale Contracting spokesman David Brydon said there were several different crops growing on the land, leased from Ara, including corn, red clover, grass and barley.

The crops, grown mainly for green feed for livestock, were planted in giant circles because of the way he had it fenced. The fences were circular to work with a pivot irrigator, which worked in a circle.

"I can turn the water on and off at different times for the different crops."

Chris Hadfield
Chris Hadfield's twitter account which describes him as a Canadian Astronaut, currently living in space aboard ISS as Commander of Expedition 35.

The crops were large, but he was surprised to hear they could be seen from the International Space Station.

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The Marlborough Express