CUTTING-EDGE AGRICULTURE combines ancient techniques with innovations and extraordinary scale.
The result can often look like something from a science fiction movie.
German photographer Henrik Spohler recently documented agricultural methods including the genetic engineering of plants by scientists in Germany, “gigantic outdoor monocultures in the United States,” and farming “under glass and plastic in the Netherlands and Spain” to show “places where man has assumed the role of Creator”.
He shared some photos below, and you can see more at his website and in his book “The Third Day.”
Scientists grow and measure corn plants at a research facility in Germany.
Shiitake mushrooms grow on compressed sawdust blocks in Germany. They are designed to mimic dead logs.
At facilities like this tomato greenhouse in Middenmeer, scientists have tamed Mother Nature to grow fresh produce any time of year.
Up close, you can see several tomato trusses (the fruit-bearing part of the plant) growing from a single plant.
The dry, dusty climate in Andalusia, Spain, used to make it a poor place to farm. Then farmers began covering the landscape with greenhouses — and built a $2.8 billion agriculture industry.
Fields in Paso Robles, California, may look like the surface of a desolate planet, but they’re just fallow. Fields are left ploughed but unseeded to let them regain fertility for a later season.
Irrigation channels in California transformed an area that used to be covered with dry steppe into one of the most important fruit and vegetable farming regions in North America.
Grape vines grow in semiarid King City, California.
Before planting, soil must be chemically treated to rid it of weeds in the seedbed that would compete with the crop for water and nutrients.
The soil is covered with plastic mulch to suppress weeds and conserve water. Plants grow through small slits in the sheeting. Plastic mulch has been praised for preventing rotting fruit, but disposal of the sheeting has become an environmental problem.
Here, soil in California has been tilled and irrigated. Seedlings are beginning to grow.
At a vineyard in California, grapes are near the beginning of their growth cycle.
Cacti grow in perfect uniformity in Borrego Springs, California.