Monday, February 20, 2012

Sugar Cane

The Rio Grande Valley is one of the top ten sugar producers in the USA.  They produce 160,000 tons of raw sugar and 60,000 tons of raw molasses yearly.  The plant is located in Santa Rosa, Texas.  Sugar cane has been grown here for over 200 years.  The growing season is October through May.  After crushing the cane, the waste is used to generate electricity to run the plant with enough electricity left over to sell to the grid.  After cutting the cane, it will grown back for about 3 to 5 years before replanting.  To replant, pieces of the cane are just stuck in the ground to regrow.  I find it all fascinating!!

This is another byproduct for birders...White-tailed Hawks flying in to snatch rodents fleeing as the fields of cane are set on fire before harvesting.  These hawks are only found in Southeastern Texas.  It happens to be my favorite hawk.  I give you a front and back view.

A bird of yet another color, this cropduster plane.  We are fortunate here in the "Magic Valley" with its 365 days of crop growing.  That is what brought a lot of people to this area in the 1890's...the fertile land and year round growing.  With the Rio Grande River supplying the water, and the amazing gravity fed irrigation canals that were invented by John Closner, things were set in motion.

Here is a nice crop of cabbage with the border fence in the background.  This will also give you an idea of what the border fence looks like.  More later.....  


  1. Are they burning cane now? First time I saw that I was sure there was a horrendous tragedy closeby. Nice hawk pics!

    1. They are still burning occasionally, and yes, it looks like a tragedy. It burns HOT and fast. A vehicle drives around the perimeter warning people if they are in there to get out!! (illegals). Thanks, I got lucky on that shot.

  2. When I was little the 7-11 stores sold sugar cane stalks. I don't recall them being very tasty in the raw.
    Beautiful hawk photos!