Preparing for Cotton Harvest Season
Whether you’re a commercial cotton grower or just trying your hand at this crop, at some point you’ll need to harvest it. The best way to do so for most operations is to bring in a mechanical harvester. This will quickly and inexpensively harvest your cotton crop. After all, harvesting cotton by hand is back-breaking work, typically involving hauling up to 70-lb bags in the blazing hot sun. However, like all machines, harvesters will need regular maintenance and repairs.
Knowing something about cotton harvester parts is a good first step. Or, you may choose to go the old-fashioned route and pick the cotton by hand. Read on to find out how to best prepare for the next cotton harvest:
- Harvest time: The season begins in July in the south and extends all the way to November in the north. It becomes clear that the cotton should be harvested when the bolls open up, exposing the fluffy white cotton beneath. Harvest time lasts for about six weeks. If you choose to harvest by hand, you’re going to need thick gloves to protect your hands from the razor-sharp bolls, which can cause serious injury.
- How to pick the cotton: Grasp the cotton ball at the base and twist and remove it from the boll and drop it in a bag. Not all the cotton will be ready to harvest at the same time, so leave immature plants for another day.
- Separating by hand: Now you can spread all the cotton out in a cool, dark area. Make sure it’s also well ventilated so that the cotton can dry. Once this process is complete, the cotton’s ready to use.
Of course, picking cotton by hand is laborious and inadvisable. Instead, consider purchasing or renting a cotton harvester. These machines include a wide range of parts and components to function, including:
- Row unit: This claw-like fixture sticks out of the front and includes spindles that are used to snatch the cotton plants. They typically come in six or 10 row units.
- Doffers: These are used to remove the picked cotton from the spindle. They rotate very quickly, removing cotton and debris from the slower-rotating spindles.
- Moistening system: This is used to facilitate cleaning the cotton. It’s essential for the cotton to be moistened and cleaned so that the machine doesn’t become clogged with debris and grime.
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Find out why we’re the leader in a wide range of farming equipment. Contact Certi-Pik, USA today to receive up to 50 percent savings on quality replacement parts for your John Deere or Case IH Cotton Harvesters!