4 Reasons to Avoid “Scrapping” and its Drawbacks

Modern cotton picker parts and innovative picker models have come a long way in a short time. If you’ve been growing cotton for more than a few decades, you know that even as recently as the 1970s and 1980s, cotton harvester equipment was wildly inefficient—it’s only through today’s modern technologies that we’ve been able to raise the total yield rates of fields as high as 95-97%!

But, today’s high crop yields are more than just a product of great cotton picker parts—they’re also the result of better cropping techniques and a forethought to increasing total yield. Sure, cotton croppers were able to get 95% yield rates even 40-50 years ago, but that was often due to a practice called “scrapping.”

Scrapping is essentially the act of harvesting a field twice, going back after an initial harvest to clean up any leftover bolls in order to drive the best yield rates possible. The problem with scrapping, however, is that it’s a wildly inefficient way of driving up your yield. Take a look at four reasons you should avoid scrapping:

  1. First and foremost, scrapping is wildly inefficient in terms of fuel. Going through your fields a second time is going to use twice as much fuel… however you’re going to get a minuscule fraction of the harvest in return. Save your fuel and don’t scrap: you’ll end up costing yourself more in the long run.
  2. After your initial harvest, going back through your field to scrap can have very serious ramifications on soil impaction. Especially if you have drainage tile or in-ground irrigation in place, you could be putting unnecessary strain on these features with a second run-through of your field.
  3. Scrapping puts excess wear on your cotton picker parts, even if they’re not being actively engaged in the capacity they were during the first harvest. Spindles can still break, doffers can still become compounded with debris, etc. Putting excess wear on your cotton picker parts is a good way to cost yourself more money than you’re making scrapping.
  4. Scrapping is time consuming! Going back and essentially re-harvesting sections of your fields takes a lot of time, which could be better spent elsewhere. Time absolutely equals money, so every spare hour you’re scrapping is money down the drain, which isn’t likely to be recouped by your secondary harvest.

Scrapping for yield might seem like a great idea in theory, but in practice it falls far short of its intended benefits. Instead, take a look at a few ways you can ensure superior yield through your first harvest, eliminating the need for scrapping:

  • Observe your crop development and plan for a single harvest at peak maturation.
  • Keep your harvester and its equipment in top working order.
  • Have a harvest plan and path in place that maximizes picking.
  • Use proper picking and baling techniques that minimize crop loss.

Gone are the days of mandatory scrapping to get every last little bit of your yield! Instead, give some of the above tips some thought and work to maximize your yield on the first and only harvest you’ll need this year.