Cotton Growth, Harvesting and Processing 101

Across the globe, cotton is one of the most common and widely-used crops. From apparel and artwork to medical supplies, cotton is all around us, but a lot of people don’t know how this crop goes from being planted in the ground to being distributed in consumer products around the world. Understanding a little bit more about cotton growth, harvesting and processing can give you a greater appreciation for this essential crop:

  • Cotton planting: The first step in the cotton production process is cotton planting. Cotton seeds are typically planted in April, when soil is warm enough for germination. Cotton is grown in several states in the U.S., including Texas, Arkansas, California, Florida, Mississippi and Missouri. While the cotton grows, cotton farmers take measures to minimize pests and weeds in their fields. The cotton harvesting season typically starts in July and can run through November, depending on the specific region and the weather conditions.
  • Cotton harvesting: When the cotton is ready to be harvested, a cotton farmer will use a cotton harvester or cotton picker to remove the cotton bolls from the cotton plant. Modern cotton harvesters can harvest hundreds of pounds of cotton in a matter of minutes. Some cotton harvesters are even equipped with GPS tracking that’s designed to locate the areas with the highest yield to optimize the harvesting process.
  • Cotton bundling: Harvested cotton is collected in a basket or receptacle on the cotton harvester, and then it’s dumped into a module builder. In some cases, this module builder may be built into the cotton harvester. It compacts cotton into modules weighing approximately 20,000 pounds. These modules are built and covered with a protective plastic wrap that’s designed to protect the cotton fibers from the elements until the cotton is ready to be processed.
  • Cotton ginning: Bundles of cotton are then sent to the cotton gin, which separates the lint from the seed. During this part of the process, leaves and debris are also removed from cotton fibers. Cotton fiber is cleaned thoroughly to remove dirt, bacteria and other contaminants from the field. Finally, the cotton is condensed into 500-pound bales for transport.
  • Cotton processing: After the cotton has been baled, it’s loaded onto trucks and distributed to textile mills and other manufacturing facilities. Cotton can be processed for use in a wide variety of different products. It is very versatile and can be dyed and woven to create millions of different types of products with a single type of fiber.

Find parts for your cotton picker

At Certi-Pik, USA, we know how essential it is to have cotton pickers and harvesters that you can depend on when it comes time to harvest your crops. With that in mind, we are proud to offer an extensive selection of cotton picker parts that are designed to deliver the greatest durability, performance, efficiency and longevity possible. You can find out more about everything that we have in stock or request custom part fabrication services by giving our experienced team a call today.