Saturday I was driving down Interstate 55 toward Memphis to visit family. I wasn’t in a real rush so I decided to hop off the highway and shoot a few quick tutorial videos that I could put here on the blog. Got those cranked out and thought it would be a straight shot into Memphis. Well, that was until I saw a few cotton pickers running.
Yep, you guessed it. My car quickly slowed from the 70 mph speed limit to being parked! I was just lucky that the pickers were right alongside an area the state of Arkansas provides for truckers to pull off for a bit.
So, I saw a picker getting ready to dump its load into a module builder (that’s a big machine that compacts LOTS of cotton for transport to the gin). And I hurried pointing my iPhone toward the tree line where they had set up shop. And the old John Deere picker, pulled up. Its basket raised and began to tilt toward the module builder (and me) and then the white fluffy stuff began to fall!
IT WAS THRILLING! Of course for me its thrilling every year to see cotton pickers rolling.
The guys working in the field noticed I had my phone pointed their way. Finally one walked away from the equipment and yelled to me. He wondered if I wanted to come closer. See it close up. I had to admit to myself I REALLY did BUT I had on shorts and some cute little sandals (no match for that mass of weeds, thorns, etc between me and the field.
I pulled to the area where there was a chance I could reach the fence. There I explained to the guy I wasn’t a city clicker who had never seen cotton harvest. Nope, I was part of the cotton industry. I just hadn’t seen pickers rolling yet in 2012 and the rush gets me EVERYTIME! He said he understood.
I gave him the card for my blog. (Betting he’s never met anyone who blogs about cotton on the weekend!) He gave me a few of the particulars knowing I was likely to understand:
- This was the first field they were picking.
- The field was a dryland one so it wasn’t yielding as much as it usually did.
- There were irrigated fields nearby that look okay and are in the process of getting prepared for harvest.
- The farm tends to use a lot of Deltapine cotton varieties which made me smile big time since I started working there a really long time ago.
The farm had several pickers all working the same field — both red and green. These pickers are a bit older as the latest ones have an on-board moduling system. If you want to check out harvest with those cotton pickers, the two big manufacturers have some important differences so check this post on the John Deere module baling picker and the Case on-board moduling picker.
Have you ever seen cotton harvest underway?
- If so, what do you remember most clearly about it?
- If not, any chance you have any questions about it?