By Payton Coker, WTAMU Student
A debate of epic proportion in the agricultural industry revolves around cotton country. Since the introduction of the John Deere CS690 in 2014, the conflict between traditional cotton strippers and the new stripper balers has caused producers to struggle to keep up with new technology, the cost and the repair bills on their aging traditional cotton harvesting equipment.
In the past, harvesting cotton required an extensive number of operators to accomplish necessary duties, such as run the boll buggy, module builder and cotton stripper itself. The stripper baler, on the other hand, is a single operator show where one operator can strip and produce bales of cotton with one machine.
Production is key in modern agriculture, especially with a time sensitive crop like cotton, where moisture and wind can rip the product from the boll. When harvest time comes around, producers scramble to collect their crop from the field before a potentially wet winter can claim the crop. With cotton being planted at an all-time high in the Panhandle, the need and want for effective harvesting is apparent.
Prior to 2014, the only cotton harvester John Deere had on the market was the 7460, the conventional basket harvester and the 7760 cotton picker baler. The basket harvesters are time-tested machines, dating back to 1950 and the release of Deere’s first self-propelled cotton picker. The problem with the basket system lies in the inability to continually harvest cotton without stopping to unload or wait on tractors pulling the boll buggy.
To read more pick up a copy of the May 2018 NTFR issue. To subscribe call 940-872-5922.