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Cotton Harvesting: Understanding the Process & Equipment Used

The harvest season acts as a time of reflection for farmers everywhere as they finally get to reap what they sowed earlier in the year. It is also important that farmers carefully plan out when they will take to the fields to harvest their crops – this is especially true for those who grow cotton. Because of the fragile nature of cotton, weather – specifically rain – is one of its biggest threats. With this in mind, for the cotton harvesting process to be a success, farmers must ensure that every piece of the puzzle comes together to get through the season as quickly as possible while still taking care not to damage their crops.



How is Cotton Harvested? 

As with many farming practices, having the right equipment is key to success when harvesting cotton. For this task, farmers have two options of which machinery to use: cotton pickers and/or cotton strippers. 

Cotton pickers remove the seed cotton from the bolls and leave the dried locules behind, essentially leaving the plant intact in the field. These pieces of equipment feature a series of spindles that are round, tapered, and grooved with barbs – these are all stacked on a spindle bar in the drum of the picker. As the picker enters a cotton row, the spindle bar rotates and once the spindles come into contact with the seed cotton on the plant, the cotton itself is drawn out of the locule. The bar will then continue to rotate and make contact with a spinning doffer, which will then wipe the cotton off the spindle and transfer it to a pneumatic conveying system that moves it to the basket of the machine. 

Cotton strippers, on the other hand, remove the complete boll from the cotton plant – this is achieved via two counter-rotating rollers consisting of nylon brushes and rubber bats. Similar to the cotton picking process, crops harvested with a cotton stripper are elevated into a basket in the machine. However, once this happens, the cotton stripper will then pack the cotton into 8-12 bale modules for storage.

John Deere Cotton Harvesters

As previously mentioned, cotton harvesting is a process that must be handled with a sense of timeliness and carefulness. It is these requirements that led John Deere to develop the newest versions of its revolutionary cotton harvesters – the CP770 Cotton Picker and the CS770 Cotton Stripper. These machines are designed to maximize efficiency, both in terms of productivity and costs, to help farmers get the most out of their fields. Specifications for each include the following: 

  •  CP770 Cotton Picker
    • 13.6L, 555 HP engine
    • Transport speed of up to 20 mph
    • 4.6 mph sync speed
    • Up to 20% greater fuel efficiency compared to the previous model
    • 8% reduction in wrap and hauling costs compared to the previous model
  • CS770 Cotton Stripper
    • 13.6L, 515 HP engine
    • Transport speed of up to 20 mph
    • Available in 8- and 12-row heads
    • 15% greater fuel efficiency compared to the previous model
    • 12% reduction in wrap and hauling costs compared to the previous model

John Deere Cotton Headers

In addition to its lineup of cotton harvesters, John Deere also offers a range of cotton headers that help boost productivity thanks to their transportable design. Models include: 

  • SH8R Cotton Stripper Header (8-Row Rigid)
    • Quick connect design for easy removal
    • 40”, 38”, and 36” row spacing
    • High capacity 13” diameter cross auger
    • Heavy-duty mainframe
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