More than five years ago, one cotton farming mach-ine dramatically changed the way farmers and ginners bale and handle cotton.
With the introduction of the John Deere 7760 cotton picker, farmers were given a new, efficient option to bale cotton. And ginners were forced to quickly adapt. Many experimented with new equipment or attachments to pick up, transport, place and unwrap the round cotton modules.
Sid Brough, manager at EdCot Co-Op Gin in Edroy, Texas, and his team sought ways to overcome their biggest challenge – avoiding significant, costly additions to their feeder system. He found a way to adapt to new round-module handling as well as keep his budget in check by working with JRB, which is a Paladin Attachments company.
He was the first to use one of its innovative attachments made specifically to work with the modules produced by the John Deere unit. As the amount of round modules farmed today trends upward, Brough finds the cotton attachment to be efficient, versatile and an easy way to avoid product contamination as his business grows.
Since 1935, EdCot Co-Op has focused on building strong customer relationships and providing a cotton end-product free of contamination that is ready to go to market in a timely manner. So, when the round module technology was introduced, it quickly adjusted to customer need.
“The round module process makes perfect sense for farmers because it greatly reduces labor,” says Brough. “To bale conventional modules, a farm might require as many as 20 to 30 laborers to run the picker, strippers, buggies, module builders and help with tarps and picking up loose cotton. Now, that same operation can use a few cotton picker machines and less than six people to pick the same exact amount.”
The John Deere cotton picker harvests cotton but requires very little stopping compared to conventional equipment. Brough says that this requires far fewer stops and estimates that it allows farmers to pick at least 20 to 25 percent more cotton in a single day. Another value to the farmer of the round module is the outside plastic wrapping that the picker puts around the bale. It protects the cotton from both contamination and moisture.
Dealing With Contamination
The round modules sound like a slam-dunk winner over conventional modules, right? That depends on who you ask. Those that oppose round modules often look at the potential cotton contamination that can be caused if the outside wrapping isn’t cut properly. When the round modules are built, they have what Brough calls a tail at the end of the wrap with adhesive that sticks to itself to keep the round cotton module intact. It’s typically at the center of the module and can be seen with the naked eye.
If, when cutting the wrap off to let the cotton fall into the feeder, the ginner accidentally cuts along the tail, the wrap may stick to the cotton and potentially contaminate it. Brough has found that by using the JRB spreadable fork cotton attachment, he can eliminate this problem.
Its powered rollers turn the module if necessary into the proper wrap-cutting location.
Working with the wheel loader’s hydraulic system, the rollers have operator-controlled spikes that attach to the outside of the wrap and quickly remove it from the cotton as the wrap conveniently circles around the rollers. The cotton then falls freely into
“There are several competitive unwrapping methods and everyone has different needs,” says Brough. We needed something that would fit with our current system, have relatively low cost and get the job done without contamination or slowing the gin down. This attachment has helped me be as efficient as I need to be and hasn’t limited our speed one bit.”
Paladin Attachments contributed data and information for this article.
Texas Producers Quickly Adopt
Round Module Picker System
Texas AgriLife Extension cotton specialist Gaylon Morgan says the round module pickers have gained popularity in his state much quicker than many people anticipated.
“They require less equipment and labor, significantly increasing overall harvesting efficiency,” he says.
He adds that the round module pickers also allow timelier harvest and should equate to better fiber quality reaching the gin.
“A timely harvest means less exposure to adverse weather conditions that can decrease the overall lint yield and quality,” Morgan says.