Getting to Know Your Cotton Harvester Parts

When it comes to complex machinery, there’s not much on a farm that tops a cotton harvester. The sheer size of these behemoths and all of the mechanical parts that power them can be overwhelming when it comes to understanding, but when you look at the whole by the sum of its parts, it becomes a little easier to discern exactly how a cotton harvester is able to get the job done.

Take a look at some of the individual cotton harvester parts that help to facilitate a clean harvest and see which ones you’re intimately familiar with:

  • Row unit: Row units are perhaps the most identifiable part of your cotton harvester—they’re the claw-like fixtures that stick out of the front, through which the cotton plants are funneled. Within the depths of each row unit you’ll find the cotton spindle bushings and the spindles themselves. Cotton harvesters come in all different sizes, but perhaps the most popular are six and ten row units.
  • Spindles and bushings: Bushings are the rotating cylinders that have spindles sticking out of them—they serve to snatch the cotton plant that’s funneled into the row unit and separate the cotton flower from the stalk.
  • Doffers: Doffers are used to snatch the freshly removed cotton flower from the spindle. Doffers spin about three times faster than spindles, allowing them to quickly strip away cotton and other debris from the spindles so that they can continue to function unimpeded.
  • Moistening system: As spindles pass in cycles, picking cotton and being swiped by the doffers, they also require cleaning. The spindle moistening system is one of the most underrated cotton harvester parts but it’s tremendously essential for facilitating clean picking and depositing. Without being cleaned, spindles can become gummed up with plant matter, cockleburs or other debris that hinders their ability to properly pick cotton.
  • Picker ribs: The picker ribs are located vertically in the row unit and separate spindles as they spin. Picker ribs are essential for clearing the spindles of twigs, dried leaves and other items that might clog up doffers or moistening systems.
  • Plant lifters: Plant lifters are located at the bottom of row units and help to funnel plants into the row units themselves. These important pieces are located only about an inch off the ground, so as to snag as much of the plant as possible and gently feed it into the harvester so that cotton harvesting is maximized.

Now that you’re familiar with some of the more important and essential parts of your cotton harvester, its time to take care of them! Make sure to inspect and assess the integrity of these parts often and thoroughly, so that your harvester does the best possible job for you year in and year out. And, if you need cotton harvester parts, make sure you’re calling Certi-Pik, USA today for the very best in new and replacement parts!