Cotton Bale Definition and Production

A cotton bale is defined as being refined cotton, packaged at a particular size, manageable for use by modern production methods. That is to say, a cotton bale is cotton which has been put through a cotton gin (engine) to remove the cotton fiber from seeds or any dirt and grime which may have accumulated in the raw plant during growth and harvest. There are different cotton plants which produce different grades and qualities of refined cotton fiber.

The different types of cotton are used for different projects. Some variations are great for clothing, underwear, t-shirts, or nicer outerwear. Some are better than others in being used to press the seeds for cooking oils. Still others provide structural support for rubber products such as car tires. Regardless of its intended purpose, these bales conform to uniform standards which allow for transport and further manufacturing process needs.

Nominal versus Actual Weight

To provide a direct answer to a direct question, a bale by law weighs 480 lbs. For people using the metric system, that’s 218 kilograms. The 480 figure is nominal, in reality, bales of cotton average a weight of 495 pounds, or 225 kilograms. The extra weight allows for humidity and moisture which may have accumulated to dry out, and to assure the recipient of the product receives what they paid for. Cotton is typically grown in climates which are hot, humid, and generally wet during the growing season, and crops can vary annually based on rainfall during the dry months. Regardless of what might happen on the farm each year, the final product is going to be a bale ready for factory production usage, and it’s going to weigh 480 lbs., or maybe a little more in actual weight.

Cotton Bale Size by Volume

Volume is another consideration of cotton size. Bales are defined by law as being 55 inches long, 21 inches tall, and 33 inches wide. Cotton isn’t a factory-produced iron or plastic, such measurements can’t be guaranteed as absolute, but each bale is going to be within an inch of such measurements to assure efficient packaging and transport. The purpose of baling cotton is to compress it for storage and transport until later use.

Cotton Bale Size

The Worth of Cotton and Pricing

Cotton as an investment can be either risky or profitable, depending on one’s understanding of the market. Farmers seem to understand the market intuitively as if they know what the weather is going to be each season, and grow their crops accordingly. Pricing fluctuates each year according to supply and demand economics. Pricing it at around 80 cents per pound comes out at $384 per bale. That price has been much lower over the past few years, as low as 60 cents per pound, but is expected to jump up over the 2021 and 2022 growth seasons.

It’s a consumer-driven market. When the economy is tight and people aren’t spending, the price of cotton falls. In turn, production falls, until the need for these products exceeds the production levels. Then, the demand for cotton resumes and cotton sales skyrocket as prices go up and farmers strive to meet the demand. The cotton market may be driven by the rules of supply and demand, yet the size of a bale of cotton remains constant as an international standard which defines how much cotton is being purchased at the current rates.

John Deere Cotton Picker 690 FAQ’s

The John Deere CP690 is an extremely popular cotton picker available on the market today. Built, like all John Deere models, to be efficient, powerful, and durable, there are a few places that this model differs from the other equipment that John Deere offers. With that in mind, here are some of the most frequently asked questions around this model.

How Much HP Does the Engine Have on the CP690?

The CP690 uses a 13.5L John Deere Turbocharged Final Tier 4 engine provides 590 maximum horsepower, which is actually 560 standard horsepower with a 30 HP boost system for those times you need a little bit extra to get over rough terrain or come across other difficulties in the field. That amount of power is regulated by a Pro-Drive Automatic Transmission and front to rear traction stability. It harvests cotton at a standard speed of 5.3 mph, or can be switched to transportation mode and drive at 17 mph when moving between fields or back to the barn to drop off the harvest.

What Is the Capacity of the CP690’s Basket?

The CP690 is not a conventional basket style cotton picker. It, like its predecessor the 7760, bundles and wraps the cotton as it conducts the harvest, then drops each module in the field for later collection. As such, it doesn’t have a basket. This system requires each farmer to evaluate what works best for them to determine if this is the ideal machine to suit their needs. It has distinct advantages such as being lightweight, as the picking units have lighter components than older conventional and in-line units, and because of its design, it requires less additional harvesting equipment to process the cotton crop. This is an advantage over earlier machines that required separate module builders. Even with its advantages it still needs a separate machine to collect and potentially load the cotton bales. The system does fully wrap each round module to protect it while it remains in the field at the end of the row awaiting collection. The system is more efficient than traditional basket equipment in that you don’t need to compact the module separately from the picker, it simply might take a little different planning to harvest the cotton and prepare it for shipping.

What Is the Maximum Module Weight of the CP690?

The CP690 produces 4500 to 5500 pound cotton round modules, wrapped eight-foot-wide by 94 inches in diameter. This size bale meets the same specifications to be able to fit in standard module transporting trucks. Gin personnel are going to expect to be able to process the cotton they receive, and with a few modifications to the gin module feeder and machinery needed to break up the bales, from only processing the standard square modules in days past, they are equipped to process the cotton from raw form to a cleaned baled product which is what’s needed for making the end product the consumer will see.

Module Weight Of The Cp690

How Many Modules Can the CP690 Wrap?

The machine’s wrap magazine is able to hold enough wrap to wrap 120 round modules of cotton before reloading the rolls. Because it’s not a conventional basket style machine, the CP690 can bale cotton all day long, according to how much work is expected to be accomplished during a regular work shift. It’s going to bale more cotton than typically expected and produce much less waste, but even so, the cotton Modules which might be scattered around the field do have to be picked up later. Because of the way the CP690’s system works, the picker requires less support labor on the ground to help the machine operator, as the CP690 does the bulk of the work itself. It saves time with the process even with consideration of having to go back through to collect the modules, and it saves labor expense along without having the need to rely on additional people on the ground.

How Many Row Units Does the CP690 Have?

The six row units offer adjustable spacing for different farms and the different breeds grown in various regions which may need wide or narrow rows. Not only are the row units adjustable, but they’re also designed to be easily adjustable by a single person, and they allow for fine tuning to assure the most precise harvest with less waste than may be expected of traditional cotton-picking equipment.

Cp690 Cotton Modules

What Pro Units Are Available for Usage on the Cotton Picker 690?

The CP690 uses the John Deere roller and crank PRO series system which easily moves around the Pro 16 or Pro 12 Series Picking Units. The system is well known for both reliability and versatility, as it is a simple means of conducting the task being built of high-quality parts. The versatility comes from its simple hand crank, which is stored on the picking unit, and wide range of adjustability for different row sizes, whether a specific farm needs to set it once for planting crops in the same row width or if they need to adjust it for different breeds of cotton grown throughout a single season. The variety of cotton needed may change each year according to market demands.

How Large Is the Fuel Tank on the CP690?

In direct terms, the fuel tank holds 370 gallons or 1401 liters of diesel fuel. Additionally, the unit has a 16 gallon, or 61-liter, diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) tank used to mix with the regular fuel in order to reduce air pollution. What those figures mean in real time is there is generally enough fuel to last for an entire day of harvesting, reducing the downtime of having to refuel during the middle of the day or toward the end of a day’s work expectations. The picker was designed with the needs of farmers in mind and was built to maximize performance efficiency.

How Large Is the Water Tank for the Moistener System on the CP690?

The CP690 uses a Quick-Fill system which holds 360 gallons in the water tank to keep the equipment clean throughout the day. Just like the fuel system, the moistener system was designed for the needs of a commercial farmer who needs to spend working hours in the field rather than having to waste time conducting refills. Of course, picking is a messy job, the moistener system keeps the machine clean enough to keep running during the day, but it does need additional cleaning after the harvest is finished. It’s important to know your machine and field conditions to know if your machine needs cleaning more often, so keep a good eye on it.

Do You Need Replacement Parts for your John Deere CP690?

The John Deere CP690 is designed for industrial cotton farming, and like all other professional John Deere equipment, cotton harvesters were engineered with the input of experienced farmers to meet the stringent needs of daily field work. Although it is one of the well-known strongest brands of field equipment, even John Deere machines will require maintenance or repairs from time to time. In such cases, be sure to contact us at Certi-Pik, USA for quality aftermarket parts. By replacing parts with appropriate top-quality parts, you assure your equipment will be properly fixed and ready to continue performing for years to come. Each of our representatives understands the importance of your equipment, and will be happy to discuss your needs and help you make sure to order the right part and offer advice on the repair so you can get back to work as soon as possible with full confidence in your machinery.

John Deere Cotton Picker 7760 FAQ’s

John Deere is known as one of the most famous tractor companies who set the standard for farm equipment, both in terms of how the job gets done and quality of available machinery. They are most commonly known for providing industrial farm equipment, in addition to meeting a homeowner’s residential needs. The John Deere Cotton Picker model 7760 meets all the standards the company is known for. It’s a heavy piece of equipment designed specifically for the rigors of cotton farming.

There are a few common questions people ask, and rightfully so, to determine whether the machine is going to serve the needs of their farm:

How Much HP Does the Engine Have on the CP 7760?

The CP 7760 provides 560 horsepower with a 13.5-liter turbocharged engine. This amount of power is distributed through a four-speed transmission with either two-wheel or four-wheel drive configurations. Such a configuration has proven itself to be more than adequate for cotton farming use in most regular situations, and there are means of upgrading for extraordinary conditions.

What is the Capacity of the CP 7760’s Basket?

The basket is sized for production-based cotton farming and can handle around 2.8 tons of cotton. There are intermediate and full-sized baskets available, and extensions if needed to increase the volume of cotton the machine can transport. This is one of the most modern machines available and was designed with the needs of large-scale commercial farmers in mind while remaining dexterous and agile enough to remain useful on smaller farms which need maximum efficiency from their equipment.

What is the Maximum Module Weight of the CP 7760?

The average weight of a round module of cotton rolled off the harvester is 2.8 tons or 5600 lbs. The John Deere CP 7760 is overbuilt to easily handle the standard module weights or go over when needed. The machine actually has different modes in which it conducts the harvest, transport the crop, gate, and cradle the harvest, and finally wrap the load. The mode is set by the operator as they need to conduct each of the steps throughout the day.

How Many Round Modules Can the CP 7760 Wrap?

The unit is designed to pick and have enough wrap to wrap 120 round modules of cotton before re-stocking the magazine. Each module can be up to 90 inches in diameter by 96 inches wide which is about one fourth smaller in weight than a conventional module which measures 7.5 feet wide, 32 feet long, and around 11 feet high, but can be more desirable as it can maintain about half as much moisture, and can be much more cost effective to get to the gin.


How Many Row Units Does the CP 7760 Have?

The John Deere 7760 is designed to work with 6 rows of cotton. There are adjustments to account for different spacing between rows which can be from as little as 15 inches apart or up to 40 inches. Each row unit uses a 560-spindle system to pick the material while being constantly cleaned by the onboard moistener system.

What Pro Units are available for Usage on the Cotton Picker 7760?

The 7760 is compatible with either the PRO-16 or the PRO-12 VariRow System Picking Units. The final decision depends on the geographic location and therefore the breed of cotton intended to be grown and harvested. It’s always important to keep an open mind when purchasing new farm equipment, as technology has changed and what one person grew up with may not always be the best part for today’s equipment, so definitely discuss the situation with a dealer before determining which option to go with.

How Large is the Fuel Tank on the CP 7760?

The fuel tank holds 350 U.S. Gallons, or 1325 liters. The sheer amount of diesel it holds is relevant to mpg, which isn’t really a factor with this type of machine. To put it in usable terms, it’s consistent with what farmers expect based on other equipment and even similar pickers built by the competition. It’s impossible to predict local terrain conditions or how much fuel individual operators are going to use, other than you can plan on the fuel lasting as long or longer than you might expect based on experience with other machinery which conducts cotton harvesting.

How Large is the Water Tank for the Moistener System on the CP 7760?

The water tank for the moistener system holds 360 U.S. Gallons. Traditionally the tank used oil-based cleaner for the picker’s spindles, the modern standard has moved towards using a specifically designated soap with water. The 360-gallon tank is typically enough for a day’s worth of operation. The moistener system keep the machine running through the day, but just like other equipment used when harvesting cotton, the spindles are going to require a full cleaning each evening after the work is finished. A fully self-cleaning picker has yet to be invented, the fact is cotton harvesting equipment requires lots of lubrication and so can be messy to operate, so there’s no simple way around having to clean equipment after use.

Cp 7760 Water Tank

Contact Us at Certi-Pik, USA, for Quality Replacement Parts for You Cotton Harvesting Equipment

At Certi-Pik, we specialize in selling aftermarket parts for farm equipment, cotton harvester parts to be specific. You’ll find our representatives to be knowledgeable and experienced, prepared to meet your needs. If you already know what part you need, we’re here to get it ordered and shipped to you, if you aren’t sure, we can discuss your equipment’s failure and symptoms to help determine what the problem might be.

We’re available via direct phone call or through email at our website, whichever method you prefer. We understand how downtime affects both small and commercial farmers, especially during the planting and harvesting seasons, and therefore make it a point to provide service as quickly as possible on all orders. If your equipment is having trouble, we’ll do everything possible to get you back up and running, so you can continue to do the valuable job you provide to our country.

John Deere Cotton Picker 9996 FAQ’s

John Deere Cotton Picker 9996 Frequently Asked Questions

The John Deere Cotton Picker 9996 is a popular, efficient agricultural machine. The 9996 is a durable, powerful machine with a thoughtfully designed build that places the engine in a position to provide more traction to the wheels and more horsepower to move those wheels up hills.

How Much HP does the Engine Have?

The 8.1-liter engine creates 350 horsepower. Its engine is a PowerTech diesel and comes equipped with an electric governor designed to provide consistent power in conditions such as rain and traversing hilly sections. The 350-horsepower provided makes this machine incredibly powerful and able to keep moving forward. There is also an optional powered rear axle available to help in areas that require more power to get over hills and extremely muddy terrain.

How is the Dual Hydrostatic Drive Set Up?

The 9996 comes equipped with a dual hydrostatic drive. It has an inner pump to drive the transmission and an external pump for the row units. The hydraulic reservoir is located in the pump housing and feeds the entire system.

What is the Capacity of the Basket?

With 1,400 cubic feet capacity, the PRO-LIFT basket has a low center of gravity to give a solid, stable base. The John Deere 9996 comes complete with a monitoring system to manage loads and a fan that improves the conveying and distribution efficiency within the basket.

What is the Row-Trak™ Controller?

The John Deere 9996 offers the Row-Trak controller system. It monitors the rows and keeps the machine running in a straight line. With this feature, the operator can maximize the harvest speed, and the 9996 will adjust steering as needed. With the Row-Trak engaged, it’s good to know the cab is comfortable. It features a standard heater and air conditioner and an optional air suspension seat, and a pre-wired radio setup.

What Size are the Picking Rows?

The Pro-Series row units offer multiple front bar options. The Pro-12 has a 12-bar front and a 12-bar rear. The Pro-16 has a 16-bar front and a 12-bar rear. The Pro-16 enhances the efficiency of picking taller, high-yield cotton plants. The Pro-12 VRS gives the operator the option of choosing between 15 to 40-inch rows. Fields with narrow rows and those with conventional row fields will benefit from the range offered.

How Large is the Fuel Tank?

Having to stop for fuel while in the middle of the field is a time-consuming setback that can slow down a productive day. The John Deere 9996 has a tank that can hold up to 200 gallons. That should be enough to keep the operator in the field longer, without having to stop for refills as often. Time spent harvesting instead of refueling is time well spent.

How Large is the Water Tank?

A 345-gallon tank will hold enough water to keep the harvest going without having to refill as often, leading to more efficient harvests.

What Tires are Available?

Dual drive tires are equipped to provide improved floatation and reduce ground compacting effects. There are cleat tires available to order as well.

High-Quality Aftermarket Parts

The John Deere CP9996 is an extremely versatile and durable picking machine, but you will eventually need to replace certain components in order to maintain the unit’s performance and reliability. Whenever you require John Deere replacement parts, contact us at Certi-Pik, USA to place an order for our aftermarket parts, or to speak with a member of staff to identify the part your cotton picker needs.

Cotton Picker History 101


There’s no doubt cotton is one of the great contributions America has made to global society, or that cotton production was and is an integral part of the American economy which led to becoming an international superpower. Without cotton, clothing would be made of expensive silk, heavy wool, or coarse uncomfortable flax linen. Cotton is used in other items as well, including coffee filters, paper currency, book bindings, and even tires. One aspect of the cotton product is to harvest the crop, typically “picking,” in order to provide the raw material for the end product.

The First Cotton Pickers: Manual Labor

Traditionally, cotton had to be picked by hand because of the nature of the plant. The boll is a protective shell which blooms into the usable fiber for making what the consumer recognizes as cotton fabric. Harvesting the entire plant makes no more sense than chopping down an apple tree in order to gather the fruit. Picking is extremely hard work, as it grows in tropical (or near tropical) humid hot climates, and the plant itself is sticky and dirty to work with. Manual labor worked historically when Native Americans and Asian peoples grew the crop for personal use or were able to sell the product for fair compensation compared to the amount of work. During colonial times in America, the atrocity of slave labor was required to meet European quotas for production at a valid price point.

Early Machines for Picking Cotton

In the 1850’s, American innovators began designing machines to speed harvesting, but they were impractical to use because of how they wound up getting jammed as the sticky raw material was run through them. It was more a matter of the Victorian Age industrial revolution than an actual attempt to solve a problem. A further issue was that at the time, the plant itself had not been engineered to bloom at once, but the machines were unable to determine which bolls were ready to be picked and which needed to wait until the next week’s harvest. Hand labor was the better solution.

After the American Civil War and the end of slavery as an institution, the need for industrialized farming became more apparent. In the late 1920’s, the Rust brothers, John Daniel and Mack, began working toward a practical solution. In 1933, John Rust received his first patent on a working cotton picker machine. There were some problems with the machine, it still required a fair amount of manual labor to clean and maintain it while running, but the basic design was valid and led to improvements which eventually provided a more useful and practical picking machine.

Other companies began to see the need and spend toward research and develop of a more practical picker which didn’t rely on Rust’s patents, unfortunately, their efforts were slowed by the demands on manufacturing toward military needs during World War II. Eventually, the International Harvester Company developed a working picker in 1944 which has changed the nature of production ever since.

Vintage Cotton Harvester

Picker Machines versus Stripper Machinery

Modern Machine Types

Today’s pickers include machinery designs based on earlier inventions and newer styles based on modern technology. There are multiple solutions which fall under six general styles of pickers:

Finding Parts for Repairs on Today’s Cotton Pickers

Picking cotton is a heavy job, even for a machine. As such, these pickers need replacement parts on a regular basis, such as provided by Certi-Pik, USA. Contact us for information on how to get your machine up and running again when you need repair parts.