When to Replace Cotton Picker Spindles?

When you’re harvesting cotton season after season, it can be easy to lose track of regular maintenance items that aren’t an every-season priority. Cotton picker spindles tend to fall into this category, since spindles are generally maintained on an as-needed basis and usually individually based on their condition.

But how do you know for sure that your spindles actually need to be replaced? Or, more importantly, how can you tell if a spindle is going to function properly and without fault so that you can maintain high harvest rates when it comes time to gather your crop?

Take a look at a few of the telltale signs that can spring up when you’re in need of replacement cotton picker spindles and how these conditions come about:

  • Broken spindles: After years of heavy wear and tear, spindles can snap off at any point, leaving a void where the barb once was. If enough spindles snap off in a local area, the picker is going to miss larger and larger clumps of cotton flower, lessening the potential of the yield. Inspect your picker before the season for any broken spindles and replace them as needed.
  • Rusted spindles: Spindles are made of metal, which makes them prone to rusting if exposed to moisture. Especially if the spindles are older and have been exposed to wear and tear, moisture can infiltrate the metal to create rust decay quite quickly. And, as we all know, rust spreads, making it important to identify and replace rusted spindles quickly. To prevent rust, store your picker in a facility that has low humidity and is immune to rain.
  • Dull spindles: Spindles that manage to stay on through the years and avoid breaking will often become dull. This occurs because acre upon acre of cotton plants being collected cause wear and tear, slowly smoothing out the notches and grooves on a spindle. To check the dullness of your spindles, simply compare a new spindle to a dulled one and replace when the spindle is smooth to the touch.
  • Missing spindles: If a spindle is missing entirely, with no sign of breakage or damage, it generally means that the spindle itself was torn off. This could be the sign of an improper initial installation, but it could also indicate damage to the threading where the spindle screws in. Check the socket and if it appears to have solid threading, be sure to replace the spindle, securing it as tightly as possible to prevent looseness.

Whatever ailment may have befallen your spindles, it’s important to see that it’s taken care of before you begin your harvest, or your yield is going to suffer. Furthermore, inspecting and assessing the condition of your spindles periodically throughout the year is going to alert you to any issues that may require attention before the harvest season comes about—saving you time and money.

For the very best in cotton picker spindles and other picker parts, contact Certi-Pik, USA today!