Monday, October 25, 2010

Cotton Harvesting, Part 1

Although cotton was an important crop in Walton County in the past, little if any is grown in the county now. Cotton is, however, still grown in neighboring Oconee and Morgan counties. And judging by the fields, this year has been a good year. I usually don’t see the harvesting process but this year I lucked out.

A field of cotton in Oconee County; ready for harvesting. It’s not often that the fields look so white with cotton.

A close up of the cotton released from the bolls.

The cotton picker is an enormous machine; about 31-ft long and taller by the looks of it. The operator sits in a climate-controlled cab that protects him from the dust. This harvester, similar to this one, was setting out to pick a field. The solid side contains the mechanism to open the side to empty the container.

A view of the cotton picker from a different angle. The basket is visible. I couldn’t get a photograph of the machine head on. Unlike a wheat harvester that can swing around the field without having to worry about aligning with the rows, the operator of this harvester must line the picker so that the picking units travel along the rows to pick the cotton.

The picker traveled along the rows to the other end of the field where the operator repeated the alignment process before it returned to the starting end. The picker traveled relatively quickly. Fans carry the cotton up into the basket where augers compact it.

It’s easy to see which section of the field has been harvested, but…

Some cotton remains after harvesting.
Click on an image to view a larger image

Information resources:
- The Story of Cotton

Related posts:
- Cotton Harvesting, Part 2

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