What is a Cotton Picker?

A cotton picker is a specialized harvesting machine designed to improve the efficiency, accuracy, and quality of harvesting cotton. Keep reading to learn how cotton pickers work, their key benefits, and how to choose the right machinery for you.

What is a Cotton Picker?

A cotton picker, otherwise known as a cotton harvester, is a piece of harvesting equipment that is specifically designed to pick cotton fiber from the plants. Its advanced design has made it possible to harvest large fields of cotton quickly and efficiently, as well as make it more affordable by reducing the cost of cotton production.

How Do Cotton Harvesting Machines Work?

A cotton picker works by removing the seed cotton from the burr in a series of steps. Here is the typical process of how a cotton harvester works:

  • Step 1: The cotton picker is positioned parallel to the rows of cotton plants.
  • Step 2: As the harvester moves forward, its picker heads reach into the cotton plants, and rotate rapidly to pull the cotton fibers from the plants. During this process, seeds and other debris are left behind.
  • Step 3: The cotton harvested is pushed upwards through the machine with the help of belts and augers, and from there, it is lifted into the cleaning system.
  • Step 4: Within the cleaning system, any debris, leaves, stems, and hulls are removed from the cotton. This is done through a series of air blasts or screens that help separate the cotton from the debris.
  • Step 5: The cotton is then collected in a module builder or storage bin and compressed into rectangular modules so that it can be easily transported.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Cotton Picker?

Using a cotton picker offers a series of benefits for users, including:

Increased Efficiency

Cotton pickers are much more efficient than manual labor, which significantly reduces the time and labor required to harvest cotton.

Improved Quality of Harvest

Cotton harvesters are specifically designed to gently extract cotton fibers from the plant while minimizing damage to the fibers themselves. As a result, there are fewer contaminants which leads to higher-quality cotton, better prices for farmers, and improved end-product quality for manufacturers.

Enhanced Precision

Cotton pickers are equipped with advanced GPS guidance systems and onboard sensors that help minimize crop damage and ensure uniformity in harvesting. This results in higher productivity and a more consistent yield.

Reduced Labor Costs

A cotton picker automates the entire harvesting process, which helps reduce costly and time-consuming manual labor.

What is the Difference Between a Cotton Stripper and a Cotton Picker?

There are two different types of cotton harvesting machines: cotton pickers and cotton strippers. A cotton picker gathers ripe lint and seeds of cotton from a standing stalk, resulting in higher quality lint and less debris in the harvest. A cotton stripper gathers the entire boll, leaves, branches, and other material on the plant, which allows it to cover more ground faster but can result in lower-quality lint.

How to Choose a Cotton Picker?

Whether you're looking to optimize harvest efficiency or maximize yields, investing in a cotton picker is a great way to maximize efficiency, profit, and cotton quality. John Deere offers both cotton pickers and cotton strippers that are sure to suit the needs of your harvest. For more information regarding cotton pickers and their individual uses, contact your local John Deere dealer.

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Additional Resources

Keeping Equipment Clean During Cotton Harvesting

Picking More Cotton in Less Time with the John Deere CP690

John Deere Cotton Harvesters: Spotlighting the CP770 & CS770