Preseason Maintenance Items for Cotton Harvesting Units

Year in and year out, cotton pickers experience a tremendous degree of wear and tear as they navigate thousands of acres of crops, diligently picking bolls off of millions of stalks. And while the modern marvels of machinery have made it possible for harvesters to do this seemingly with ease, there’s still a high degree of maintenance that’s required to make sure harvesters are kept functional and efficient.

Preseason is the time to take a proactive approach to maintaining the functionality of a harvester. Cleaning, calibrating and replacing John Deere cotton picker parts before the harvest season is a great way to ensure yet another year of efficient harvesting, while also ensuring your investment in a picker remains sound. Take a look at just some of the maintenance items that should be making the list each preseason:

  • Tires: Checking for optimal PSI in each tire means rolling out into the field ready to harvest effectively. Low PSI can result in tilts to the row units, creating inefficiency across an entire harvest. Low PSI can also create turbulence as the picker drives forward, creating a bouncing effect that will also decrease the harvest rate.
  • Row units: You row unit should be properly positioned to capture stalks as they’re fed into the harvester, which means optimizing its height to be as low to the ground as possible without the potential for bumping or skipping. About one inch is usually standard. Along with height, tilt is another factor that needs to be adjusted, to create a seamless transition for stalks as spindles harvest the boll.
  • Spindles: Spindles need to be thoroughly inspected and replaced where missing or damaged. Be sure to also look at the wear of the spindles to ensure they still remain rugged and have not been worn smooth by last year’s harvest. Spindles generally wear quicker at lower heights, however wear can occur at any height where picking is plentiful.
  • Doffer: Doffers should be thoroughly cleaned to remove any excess debris and calibrated to run in conjunction with the spindles—general clearance is usually about two tenths of an inch from a spindle row.
  • Moistening system: Cleaning out your moistening system should be a routine task in the preseason. Be sure to use only specially formulated solutions to protect the integrity of the system—these formulas will target gums, sediments, resins and other buildups cause by green plant matter. Replace damaged pads over time if they present blemishes.

The preseason list goes on and on, also encompassing routine systems such as compressor doors, plant lifters, picker ribs and air conveyance systems. Inspection and maintenance of every part is critical in the preseason and will absolutely prevent costly setbacks and damages come the harvest time. Moreover, paying attention to John Deere cotton picker parts in the preseason allows for more time spent assessing damages or operations before the harvester needs to be functional.