071409-detassel014

071409-detassel015

A couple of weeks ago I was finally able to set up an assignment to go follow some detasselers.  What originally was a video only piece turned into a still assignment as well with a story by Independent reporter Robert Pore. Check out the video and story. I had always been curious about the point of detasseling.  All I knew was that tassels were taken off to produce seed corn.  What I didn’t realize is it is a controlled hybridization process.  The tassels are taken off four rows of one strain, while left on one row of another strain.  This allows the male aspect of one strain to pollinate the other. It was good to finally understand the summer rite of passage and the purpose behind it.