Ah, harvesting: one of the most celebrated events of human history. Nothing is more exciting than finally reaping the benefits of a hard-earned growing season!
160 days. That’s how approximately how long it takes for cotton to fully mature and be ready for harvesting. Talk about patience! The exact season for harvesting, however, varies from region to region. For the most southern parts of Texas, cotton harvesting season may occur in mid-July. On the other hand, cotton-growing states located in the more northern region of the US harvest their crop around early September. Excessive rain may negatively impact the yield because they damage the cotton crops–so harvesting before the rainy season is key.
Video courtesy of rbranch2008: “2009 Picking Cotton – DEJ Turner Farms”
Remember our brief introduction to cotton bolls in our previous blog? Massive machines are used to remove these bolls from the stalk and are very productive in doing so. These machines use rotating spindles to pick (or twist) the seed cotton from the opened burr. A second machine, called a cotton stripper, can also be used in this stage. This particular machine user rollers equipped with tools to knock the open bolls from the plant into the conveyor, which is then stored in a boll buggy.
Now that the cotton has been harvested from the field, it then begins the transfer from the buggy to a module builder. From there, the cotton is then packed into large cubes that weigh approximately 20,000 pounds each! Yep, you read that right! 20,000 pounds! At this point, the cotton is then sent to the cotton gin for processing and preparing before its sent off for manufacturing.
Next month, we will be discussing the ginning stage in the journey of cotton and a brief history of the cotton gin. Stay tuned!