How to Clean Cotton Picker Components

Every good cotton grower knows that even when the last acre of cotton is harvested and baled up, the work isn’t done—the harvester and baler will need to be properly tended to and maintained before they can be put away for the season. Now, this isn’t nearly as simple as driving it into an agriculture building and hosing it off—it takes a clear-cut approach to cleaning all of the picker and baler parts thoroughly, so they’re ready to function properly for next year’s harvest.

Take a look at a few of the most effective methods of cleaning individual picker and baler parts, to make sure you’re giving the vital components of these machines a reprieve from the wear and tear of being put away dirty:

  • General cleaning: Before you get down and dirty in cleaning the smaller, more refined components of a harvester or baler, you’ll want to give it a more general onceover—to dislodge and remove any larger particulates or loose cotton residuals. The best way to do this is was compressed air—use a heavy duty blower to blast debris from your machine from the top down and be sure to get into all of the nooks and crannies where debris might be hiding. Don’t forget cloves, a face mask, goggles and a hat!
  • Row units and moisture columns: There’s no easy way around this area of your picker—you’ll have to handpick debris out in lumps! Because debris accumulated here is often wet or has been wet and now has dried in place, compressed air isn’t always going to be powerful enough to remove it. Pick through with your hands first to remove most of the debris, then try and blast out any leftovers with your air compressor afterwards. This will likely be the most time-intensive single aspect of cleaning individual cotton picker parts.
  • Header: This section is going to be a bit more manual-intensive than most, but it goes by quickly enough. You’ll need to detach the covers from stripping units to reveal any large debris trapped within them—go ahead and pull these out manually. Then, blast everything clean with compressed air and you should be good to go! Reattach everything and make sure it’s secure.
  • Engine compartment: Having buildups in your engine compartment for extended periods of time is a recipe for disaster! Make sure all access panels are open, dig out any larger debris you can find and then blast everything thoroughly with compressed air. When you’re done, shut everything up tight.

Now, for the most part, blasting your cotton harvester or baler with compressed air will get the job done while you pick out larger debris with your hands. When all is said and done—if you’re done for the season—it’s also a good idea to give your equipment a good wipe-down. Use commercial agricultural machine cleaner for the façade of the equipment, taking care to gently address areas that are of a delicate nature.

When you’re done, make sure everything is in top working order before stowing your equipment—that way, you’ll be ready for next year!