Optimizing Cotton Picker Maintenance: Essential Parts to Inspect Regularly

It is critical to develop an optimized maintenance schedule for a cotton-picking machine. You must also check all the electrical components, like the tailgate feeder switch and other connections, to ensure they are in working condition. Keeping up with maintenance is a primary goal to achieve the ultimate success of a long-lasting machine.

Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on all the parts that require upkeep so that all mechanical components operate at total capacity.

A Guide to How to Maintenance and How Often

Some parts require multiple checkups, while others can go days, weeks, or months before worrying about them. However, watching for any shaking or vibration will help keep parts from breaking down while out in the field. Repair or replace those parts as needed if they start to wear and tear.

Use this guide below to help you optimize a steady checklist for maintenance. It will become a habit as you follow your daily routine and keep all parts operating efficiently.

Maintenance Every Six Hours

  • Check for broken, wrapped, or non-functional spindles
  • Inspect and clean the dirt and debris off the solution nozzle on each row unit as needed
  • Grease the sun gears, row-unit picker bars, cam tracks, and upper gear train using the onboard lubrication system

Check These Every 12 Hours

  • Auxiliary water system operation
  • Solution tank level
  • Fire extinguishers
  • The fluid level in the solution tank
  • Coolant level
  • Engine oil level
  • Row-unit gear case oil level
  • Lubricate the unit lift rock shaft bearings
  • Grease tank level
  • Hydraulic oil level
  • Fuel filler neck screen
  • Lubricate the guide axle kingpins
  • Lubricate the team driveshaft covers
  • Feeder belt tracking
  • Solution strainer and nozzles
  • Tires and check tire pressure

Every 50 Hours, Check These

  • Lubricate the unit lift pivot pins and cylinders
  • Cotton fan drive belt tension
  • Lubricate the row-unit doffer column bearings
  • Cab fresh air filter for cleanliness
  • Fuel strainer and water separator
  • Lubricate the RMB rock shaft pivots

Maintenance and Check Every 100 Hours

  • Torque on the drive and guide wheel bolts
  • Lubricate the guide axle pivot and guide axle tie rod ends
  • Lubricate the row-unit driveshafts, U-joints, and frame rollers
  • Check the laydown roller chain tension and lubricate
  • Lubricate final drive axle couplers and bearings

Keeping The Cotton Picker Clean

Like maintenance, regular cleaning ensures better cotton harvesting results, preventing breakdowns and reducing repair costs. These are some excellent benefits of making this a habit after each operating use of your machinery.

  • Enhanced Efficiency: A clean cotton picker operates at its optimal level, picking cotton with greater precision and speed. Proper cleaning prevents the accumulation of debris, dust, and plant material that can hinder the machinery’s efficiency.
  • Reduced Downtime: Regular maintenance and cleaning can significantly reduce downtime. A dirty picker is more prone to breakdowns and malfunctions, leading to costly repairs and delays during the harvesting season.
  • Extended Lifespan: Clean machinery equals less wear and tear, which extends its overall lifespan. You can invest considerably in your cotton-growing future by caring for your cotton picker.
  • Better Cotton Quality: A clean cotton picker ensures better cotton quality by minimizing contamination from debris and other unwanted materials. This leads to higher-grade cotton, which can fetch better prices in the market.

Essential Cleaning Tips

  • Preparation: Before cleaning, turn off the cotton picker and disconnect it from any power source. Wear protective gear, gloves, and safety goggles to prevent injuries.
  • Remove Large Debris: Begin by manually removing large debris, such as twigs, branches, and rocks, from the cotton picker. These items can cause severe damage to the machinery if left unattended.
  • Air Compressor Cleaning: Use an air compressor to blow away dust and small particles from hard-to-reach areas of the cotton picker. Pay special attention to the engine compartment, transmission, and hydraulic lines.
  • Cleaning the Harvester Heads: The harvester heads come into direct contact with cotton and can accumulate residues. Clean these components thoroughly to prevent clogs and ensure efficient picking.
  • Cleaning the Picking Units: Clean the picking units carefully, removing any cotton build-up and tangled fibers. Properly maintained picking units result in improved cotton harvesting performance.
  • Inspect Belts and Chains: Regularly check the belts and chains for signs of wear and correct tension. Replace any damaged components promptly to avoid sudden breakdowns.
  • Keep the Exterior Clean: Washing the exterior of the cotton picker helps maintain its appearance, prevents rust, and makes it easier to spot any potential issues during the cleaning process.
  • Store Properly: During the off-season, store the cotton picker in a clean and dry environment. Cover it to protect against dust and potential damage caused by the elements.

Why Should You Follow a Schedule for Maintenance?

Many times, people forget or get too busy to perform maintenance or try to skip a step to save time and money. Here are some things that may happen if you neglect to improvise a schedule. It will lead you to follow better habits.

Neglected Cotton Pickers and Safety Risks

This poses a safety risk to operators and others out in the field. Critical components of the picker may malfunction, safety features can become compromised, and faulty electrical systems can develop. In some situations, the parts can catch on fire which could destroy the entire machine.

Higher Operating Costs and Fuel Consumption

Poor maintenance practices in a cotton picker can lead to higher operating costs and environmental issues. For example, clogged air filters and other problems force the engine to work harder, increasing fuel consumption and producing more harmful emissions.

Impact on Cotton Quality and Sale Value

A dirty cotton picker can adversely affect the quality of the harvested cotton. Debris, dirt, and other foreign materials can mix with the cotton during the picking and ginning, leading to lower-quality production.

Contact Certi-Pik, USA for Your Next Order

Farmers and dealers can check out our website to order online or by phone. We are here to answer your questions concerning our aftermarket parts. Contact us Certi-Pik, USA. We are happy to assist and guide you through any troubleshooting moments.

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.

Used Cotton Picker Parts vs. New Ones, What’s the Difference?

Cotton pickers save you time and money in the field, provided they function properly. Although farm equipment is made to stand up to hard work, some of the parts may wear out quicker than others. When you’re faced with buying replacements, you can go with new or used. Here’s what to consider when you need to purchase replacement parts to find the right option.

How Cotton Picking Machine Parts Typically Fail

Cotton picking machines have many moving parts. The spindles can break or become damaged due to overuse. Sometimes, the spindles simply get dull and won’t remove the fibers from the plant. Other parts can become rusted in a humid environment that is perfect for cotton growing. It’s important to inspect the cotton picker before the season starts to make sure everything is in working order. Here are some of the top reasons cotton-picking components fail:

Pros & Cons of Buying New

New parts are usually thought to be the most effective. First, there’s just simple convenience. You order the new part and you know that it’s going to fit. New pieces generally have a warranty. You can rely on their quality. The only downside is usually that new components directly from the manufacturer can be expensive. When you’re replacing a part on an older piece of equipment, you do have to pay attention to the cost. If you keep replacing pieces, it can be cost-effective to get new equipment at some point.

Pros & Cons Of Buying New

Pros & Cons of Buying Used

Although used components have many cons, they do have two very important pros. Used parts are usually less expensive than new components. When you buy used pieces, you’re also being environmentally conscious. If you have an older cotton picker, new components might be more difficult to come by. Used ones may be your only option to keep your machine going. Unfortunately, used versions usually don’t come with a warranty. If you do get a warranty, it may be limited. The life expectancy of these is unknown. You won’t know how long it should last. Used pieces may have unknown structural stability. It can be a risk to buy used pieces.

Does it Matter if the Parts are For John Deere, Case IH or Another Manufacturer?

If you’re buying components directly from the manufacturer, you may be limited to only new versions. You should only use ones that are proven to work on the models. Aftermarket new components can be a good alternative to original equipment manufacturer options. Our company deals with OEM and high-quality aftermarket fabricated replacement parts that keep your cotton picker at peak performance. We manufacture replacements with the same standards of John Deere and Case IH would. Our reputation is just as important to us so that you can count on your equipment.

Benefits of Buying New Aftermarket Cotton Picker Parts From Certi-Pik

Aftermarket components are an affordable way to keep your equipment running at peak performance and efficiency. We’ve been providing cotton farmers with replacements since 1988. We know the industry and how to find the right components for all types of cotton-harvesting equipment. Trust us as your source for replacements.

Certi-Pik, USA offers quality replacements that are proven and tested to work on your cotton equipment. You can order by email, telephone, or fax. Written confirmation of your order is preferred, but we’re always happy to talk to you about product information. Our payment policy is to give you options to pay for your shipment, from credit card, COD, bank wire, or money order.

We have a large inventory that can be shipped out very quickly. You can find a partial list of components we have on stock on our website. You should check with us because we don’t list every part on our website. We also stock many specialty items and sheet metal components that you can use to rebuild equipment. Our team has custom-built components to keep machinery running. Most of our specialty components are manufactured within our own facility and almost all are USA made.

We classify every order as a RUSH shipment. If you order before noon CST, we try to get your order shipped that day. If you order after noon, we ship your order on the next business day. We have multiple shipping options, from ground service to next day air. We know how important it is to get your components quickly to get your work done. Once your components are shipped, we can give you the tracking information to keep up with the logistics.

Certi-Pik, USA wants to provide you with the absolute best components that meet your high standards. We have a commitment to customer service along with a high-quality control to make sure that you get the best equipment to maintain functionality and performance. Contact us today for the parts you need.

John Deere vs Case IH – Which Cotton Picker is Best?

Many people in the cotton-harvesting industry have definite preferences when it comes to which manufacturer makes the best harvester, and both John Deere and Case IH have legions of devoted followers. There’s no doubt that both machines have some tremendous benefits, and both offer great service to anyone purchasing either type of equipment.

As to which of the two is superior, there probably is no clear answer in concrete terms, because both will get the job done efficiently and smoothly, provided that the machine is in good working order. To help decide the debate, information about both types of harvesters is provided below, as well as some information about the specific preferences of many farmers.

This may help you make up your own mind about which cotton picker is the better machine, or it may just convince you that both types are excellent, and there’s no real need to pick a winner.

Strengths of John Deere CP690

The CP690 machine is incredibly productive, and it’s onboard module building system is so efficient that it completely eliminates boll buggy drivers, module-building workers, and all of the other equipment which traditionally supports a picker.

Because it has its own onboard component building apparatus, cotton can be harvested nonstop as it’s processed by a high-volume accumulator, the component builder itself, and the component handler.

The accumulator collects the material and a formed round component gets wrapped with a protective coating, and then gets forwarded to the machine’s handler. This handler places the completed round module at the end of the row, and since all this happens while the CP690 is still harvesting, it allows the operator to stay right in the row, rather than having to unload into boll buggies or other builders.

In a setup like this, all that’s necessary is to have a single operator for the machine and a tractor operator who is responsible for staging modules for transport. This allows for a much less labor-intensive harvesting process, which will streamline your operation and save you labor costs.

You also won’t need all the traditional support equipment required when your operation uses a basket-style picker, because you won’t need a boll buggy, a boll buggy tractor, a builder, or a builder tractor. The only support equipment you need for the CP690 is a row crop tractor and a material component handler.

Another great thing about the CP690 is that it’s only necessary to fill the machine up with diesel fuel one time each day because the huge 370-gallon fuel tank carries a sufficient reserve for all daily operations.

When you’re moving between fields, the machine can be put in transport mode in less than a minute, so that it can move along roads at an impressive 27 km/h.
The CP690 provides tremendous protection for the valuable material and seeds being harvested, by wicking away moisture which can interfere with crop quality.

Each module is wrapped three times by the onboard builder, and each wrap contains two segments of low-density polyethylene film, so as to maintain the round modules in a good uniform shape, while also providing superior protection against moisture.

The CP690 is equipped with a moisture sensor that provides real-time measurements of moisture as the round module is being formed. This is critical to the harvesting operation because it helps preserve material quality, and the sensor provides highly accurate readings that can be relied upon. Since moisture is tracked so accurately, it helps the ginning process achieve greater efficiency.

The CP690 also weighs each of the round modules as they’re formed, making it much easier to provide easier yield-monitored operation. This makes it easy during ginning to simply record the weights and load them into the system, and it also allows for gins without scales to be used during the ginning process.

Apart from the mechanical operation of the harvester, the CP690 also provides the ability to record all formation information, right as it’s happening in the field.
Each time a component is unloaded from the round chamber, all relevant data is sent to a controller where the data is compiled so producers can isolate each round component based on specific production areas.

All that data can then be used to review yield performance, to show you just how productive your CP690 harvester has been in the field.

John Deere Vs Case IH – Which Cotton Picker Is Best John Deere

Strengths of Case IH Module Express

At the heart of the Case Module Express 625 is its module-building chamber, which includes a whole array of sensors and augurs, which process the material and compress it into a rectangular component.

The modules produced in this process are able to withstand weather conditions very well, and they also make the ginning process much easier. Because they’re sized to allow for maximum gin-feeding rates without any alterations being necessary, they streamline the whole material processing operation considerably.

Modules are produced in 16-foot lengths, so they can be loaded onto a standard truck much more easily than the traditional 32-foot module. Since there is no plastic wrap or twine involved, finished bales are never contaminated, and there’s nothing to dispose of when they’re fed into the inner.

Another big advantage of the IH cotton harvester is the monitoring system included in the cab of the machine.

The AFS Pro 700 Monitor allows you to track bales per acre along with individual component weights, so that it’s easier to plan for drop-off points in the fields where your trucks can pick up finished bales. The monitor also provides operation status as well as the percent full.

A 7-inch flat screen color LCD monitor includes dual camera views, one of which displays the rear view from behind the machine, and the other displaying all action inside the chamber.

The Case IH harvester has been designed such that it has superior balance, weight distribution, and flotation. With powerful dual-drive tires upfront for maximum flotation, it has the perfect complement with the large steering tires situated on the rear axle.

The long chassis provides superior balance, and the all-wheel-drive allows you to harvest even in the most difficult conditions. When you have to get the harvest in before a big rain hits, this is the machine you want to be using.

The collector has a 200-gallon tank which allows you to fill it up once at the beginning of the day, and then stay in the field until the harvest has been brought in. It also has a standard automatic lube system which runs for 16 minutes each hour, so that you can save time from your daily servicing.

All components are automatically lubricated by a metering system which allocates appropriate lubrication to cam tracks, drum lift arms, rollers, drum gears, and fan bearings. This is a feature that many farmers love about Case’s machine, because it actually requires less maintenance than a traditional basket-style picker.

John Deere Vs Case IH – Which Cotton Picker Is Best Case Ih Module Express

Where are Most Farmers Siding?

For many farmers, the choice between the two brands boils down to what has been used in their family for generations. Both of these companies have been around since the early 19th century, and both have provided outstanding products ever since.

It’s also fair to say that both of these machines are considered the Cadillac of harvesters, meaning that both are fairly pricey, and are for the most part outside the budget of a small farming operation.

Both machines retain their retail value very well, so that if you find yourself in a position where you need to sell somewhere down the road, you’ll get a good price for your picker.

Most farmers will agree that it’s fairly easy to get parts for both John Deere and Case’s cotton harvesters, because they’re so well known, and because many manufacturers produce parts for them.

In terms of capabilities, both companies produce superior harvesters, and if there’s a single point of difference, it might be that a Case IH harvester carries a lower price tag than its John Deere counterpart as a rule.

However, it’s also fair to say that any farmer who can afford Case’s machine will probably also be able to afford a John Deere harvester, so price is not as big a factor as it might seem.

To actually find a difference between the two machines, you might have to look outside the capabilities of the two harvesters or the pricing scheme associated with each. Many farmers are now saying that while John Deere dealers used to provide superior support for their products, over the last two decades or so, it seems that Case IH has caught up and surpassed the boys in green.

In terms of dealer support alone, Case IH appears to be winning the battle at the present time.

Quality Aftermarket Parts, Regardless of Your Choice

The truth is, you really can’t go wrong no matter which of these two outstanding cotton harvesters you purchase. Since both provide outstanding benefits and advantages, and both companies incorporate all the latest technology into their machines, either one would be a terrific choice as a cotton collector.

It very often boils down to a preference that specific families have had over generations, and has simply become a matter of ongoing loyalty to the brand.

For someone with no vested interest in one or the other company, there are good reasons to buy either one, and you should get the same kind of quality and reliability from both machines. At Certi-Pik, USA, we provide high quality aftermarket parts for both manufacturing brands, so whichever one you prefer, we’ll be sure to have all replacement parts you need for your operation.

Contact us whenever you’re in need of superior replacement parts for either your John Deere harvester or your Case IH harvester.

The Historical Significance of the Cotton Gin

Today, the cotton industry is powered by lumbering machines running on ingenious cotton harvester parts. When the cotton industry first sprang to life, however, the process of picking and cleaning cotton was unbelievably difficult. From the moment it was discovered, more than 500 years before the Common Era, all the way through the 18th century, cotton was picked plant by plant and then cleared of its seeds by hand. In fact, in the early 1790s, a worker could be expected to pick and clean a pound of cotton every day.

Eli Whitney’s new machine

That all changed in 1794, however, when a young inventor named Eli Whitney visited his friend Catherine Greene. There, observing the workers she hired to pick her cotton, Whitney was struck with inspiration. Over the course of several weeks, he constructed a machine designed to clear the seed from the picked cotton lint at a lightning-quick pace.

Eli Whitney’s first hand-cranked cotton gin—gin was supposed to be a play on “engine”—as brilliant, but still simple. After picking cotton, the seed-filled lint was fed into a wooden barrel that had been outfitted with a series of small hooks. The hooks caught the cotton lint and pulled it through a mesh too fine for the seeds to fall through.

A new way to harvest cotton

Almost as soon as Whitney filed his patent, the cotton gin began to transform the domestic cotton industry. Soon, several different variations on Whitney’s cotton gin began to show up throughout the country. Smaller ones remained hand-cranked, while larger gins could be operated by a horse.

Even using Eli Whitney’s smaller, hand-cranked design, a worker could expect to de-seed approximately 50 pounds of cotton in a single day. This led to a considerable expansion of the industry, as more cotton could be picked and processed during a workday.

It’s interesting to note that a large portion of the cotton gins employed throughout the American South were actually pirated versions of Eli Whitney’s original design. As a result, Whitney himself failed to make much money off the cotton gin, even after years of litigation. However, he remains among history’s most well-known inventors, familiar to schoolchildren all over the country thanks to his contributions.

The modern world of cotton

Fortunately, in the 21st century, those labor-intensive methods of cotton picking have been exchanged in favor of state-of-the-art machines. As one of the global leaders in the manufacture of replacement cotton harvester parts, Certi-Pik, USA is proud to be a part of that technological revolution.

When you need first-rate replacements for your malfunctioning cotton harvester parts, our team of knowledgeable professionals is ready to help. From blown drumheads to cracked spindle nuts, you can rely on Certi-Pik, USA to make things right.

No matter where you are in the world, we’re ready and waiting to do business. Contact us today to receive up to 50 percent savings on quality replacement parts for your John Deere or Case IH Cotton Harvesters. We look forward to assisting you soon!