Cotton, one of the world’s oldest and most well established cash crops, thrives in areas with long, hot summers. For many centuries, cotton bolls and seeds were picked by hand in a tedious, labor-intensive process. Thankfully, technological innovations in the 19th and 20th centuries removed the vast bulk of manual labor necessary to pick and process cotton effectively. The development of the cotton picker spindle made the process of cotton harvesting substantially easier than previously imagined.
Today, cotton is picked using large cotton picker machines. They have small mechanical digits, called cotton picker spindles, that remove the bolls from the plant, while leaving the plant itself largely intact. The bolls themselves contain both the cotton fibers and the cottonseeds.
Unlike most commodity crops, cottonseeds come second compared to the cushiony fiber’s they’re protected in. Cottonseeds aren’t completely useless, however. Savvy cotton farmers typically use every possible part of the cotton plant, including the cottonseed.
Once the ripe bolls are removed from the stalks using the cotton picker spindles, they are brought into a facility with a cotton gin. The cotton gin strips the seeds, dirt and leftover plant material away from the cotton fibers. After ginning, the cotton fibers go on to be further refined into textiles, yarn, stuffing, thread and myriad other products. Cottonseeds, however, are also refined. Here are just some of the products produced using cottonseeds:
- Cooking oil: One of the most lucrative uses of cottonseeds is for cooking oil. High-quality cotton seeds are cleaned and pressed into an edible oil known for its flavor stability. Cottonseed oil appears in a number of household products, including mayonnaise and salad dressing.
- Planting seed: Of course, savvy cotton farmers save some of the most viable seeds for future planting. That way, they can continue to plant new cotton fields and reap the rewards of farming each season. Once seeds are past viability, however, farmers may still put them into the ground—they can improve soil as they break down.
- Livestock feed: Cottonseeds are a healthy snack for many livestock animals, including hogs. Cottonseed is crushed and all lint is removed before being added to livestock feeds. Cottonseed hull and meal is a high-protein and high-fiber food item for a number of animals.
- Cosmetics: Because of its clean, moisturizing oil, cottonseeds are becoming an increasingly popular ingredient in many cosmetic products. Cottonseed oil now appears in soaps, lotions, makeup and more.
Certi-Pik, USA has been the nation’s most trusted provider of cotton picker spindles since 1988. We provide our clients with a wide range of manufactured and fabricated cotton picker parts. We specialize in creating components for rebuilding units, including drumheads, spindles, cam tracks, spindle nuts, idle gears, lubrication hoses and more. Regardless of your needs, we’re here to help. Certi-Pik, USA is proud of its ability to help American farming communities remain competitive and reach their production goals.
To learn more about our extensive range of products and services, reach out to one of our knowledgeable representatives at your earliest possible convenience.