Farm Life- The Fall Harvest

Fall has always been a special time of the year for me. The feeling you get when the temps start to drop some. It always made me want to go to the mountains. However, on the Farm, it meant plant wheat and getting ready to start stripping cotton. Getting the cotton out of the field has changed so much since I was actively participating in the cotton harvest. When I was just a little guy, the cotton was taken out of the field by picking by hand and putting it in a long cotton bag. The picker would fill the bag, drag it back to the trailer. Their was a tripod with a scales on it to weigh the bag. The picker would record in it in his notebook. He then would drag the cotton sack into the trailer, empty it, and start down the rows again picking cotton. As you can imagine, this took a lot of time. I caught the tail end of this period of harvesting cotton.

After this, we started harvest cotton with a cotton striper mounted on a tractor. The unit would go down the row, strip the cotton off of the plant, run it the unit and blow it back into the trailer. A man would pitch the cotton to the back of the trailer while packing the cotton with his weight. It was an extremely dirty job. It was my job. Once the trailer was filled to the top, it was unhooked from the stripper.  An empty trailer was hooked up and the process started again. Sometimes I would get a break and was able to hook up the full trailers to the pickup and take them to the gin.

As with anything, progress continues. We were able to upgrade to a module. The stripper was mounted on the tractor ,same as the earlier model but it had a big basket on the top where the cotton was stored till it was full, then it was dumped into a module builder. It was then pressed tight as a module. Once this was done, the module builder rear door would open and the unit was removed from the cotton. The gins would send module trucks to pickup the cotton. This process lasted for several years.

Since I have left the farm, a new unit has come out that doesn’t require  the module builder. It compresses the cotton into a round bale, just like it does with hay. These round bales of cotton are lined up in 4’s where a module truck can load them up and take them to the gin. This is a lot better but the unit is expensive. It doesn’t mount on an tractor, its a unit unto itself. This process does require another tractor with a fork on the rear to set up the bales for loading.

Harvesting cotton in the fall!

If you have experienced any of this, feel free to comment on the harvest in the fall.

The below photo shows a modern round bale.

cotton harvest

module builder

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