Growers Struggle with Resale of Traditional Cotton Pickers

As far as roadside scenery goes, old farm equipment isn’t the most pleasant sight. .

But in recent years, traditional four- and six-row cotton pickers featuring “For Sale” signs have begun to spring up along roadsides throughout the Cotton Belt. Cotton producers – having either switched out of cotton altogether or purchased new equipment – are looking to get some return on their used pickers. Oftentimes, cotton farmers have upgraded to the module-building cotton harvesters introduced by both CASE IH and John Deere. Both models hit the market roughly five years ago, and found instant popularity among cotton producers looking to save money in labor and input costs.

“We used to run 12 cotton pickers with 12 drivers,” said Mississippi cotton producer Kenneth Hood when he first began using an on-board, module-building cotton picker back in 2009. “We had 12 module builders with 12 tractors hooked to them, with 12 drivers. We had a Mule Boy (boll buggy) for each picker – so that was 12 more pieces of equipment, with 12 tractors hooked to them and 12 more drivers.

To run those 12 pickers that I use 45-60 days a year takes 36 people, 24 tractors and 24 other pieces of equipment. With that much, I’m supposed to go broke,” Hood said. “An on-board, module building picker will replace a lot of that.”

Since that time, scores of cotton producers from around the Cotton Belt have come to the same conclusion Hood did. The end result, it seems, is that more and more of the smaller, conventional cotton pickers are coming up for sale – and having a hard time finding a new home.

This is not great news for cotton producers looking to get any sort of return on their investment when selling their conventional pickers. As president of DeWitt Auction Co. out of Sikeston, MO, Jeff DeWitt has witnessed this transition first hand. His company is the largest farm equipment auction service in the Mid-South.

“The demand for four-row pickers is just about gone,” says DeWitt. “Something like a 9965 John Deere picker, we had some that auctioned this winter and the high bid was $5,000. Our farmer rejected the bid, because he felt like the motor and tires and other parts were worth more than that, so he didn’t sell it.

“As far as six-row pickers, there’s not much demand for them left either. Due to maintenance costs and high labor costs, you’re just better off going with a later model, a better picker,” says DeWitt.

DeWitt points to dwindling cotton acreage in the Mid-South as a primary factor in the disappearing market for four- and six-row pickers in the region. There is no doubt, though, that newer module-building cotton picker models have played a role as well.

Still, he says, there could be some hope – at least for the six-row models. DeWitt says he believes, in many ways, demand is tied to whatever the current market for cotton may be. Some hope may lie in interest from overseas cotton producers as well.

“There are some six-rows that will bring a pretty good value – models like the John Deere 9976 and the John Deere 9986. I will say they could bring anywhere from $30,000 to $80,000 at auction. A friend of mine sold one a while back, I believe to somewhere in Argentina, for nearly $170,000,” DeWitt says. “The later model six-row pickers can still have a pretty good resale value, but the bale picker has just about taken over the majority of the picker market, on account of low labor costs.”

Leave a Reply

Cotton Production Stories
Cotton Production

EPA Registers Dicamba Formulation for Use On Dicamba Tolerant Crops

November 9, 2016

The EPA has registered Monsanto's XtendiMax with Vapor Grip technology - a new, low volatility dicamba formulation - for use in weed control programs in cotton and soybean crops engineered for dicamba tolerance.

Harvest

Cotton Looks Promising in Texas’ Rolling and High Plains

October 19, 2016

Good late-summer rains improved conditions for cotton in the Rolling and High Plains regions of Texas and likely mean an above-average crop for 2016.

Harvest

Possible Storm Impact on North Carolina Cotton

October 11, 2016

NC State specialists offer guidelines for making harvest decisions on cotton acres impacted by tropical storm Matthew.

Harvest

2016 Mid-South Defoliation Guide Now Online

September 9, 2016

The 2016 edition of the Mid-South Cotton Defoliation Guide is complete and now available online.

Harvest

Managing Proper Defoliation Timing

September 1, 2016

Proper defoliation planning helps protect yields. But it’s just as important when it comes to maximizing fiber quality.

Harvest

Is Cotton Turning Too Soon?

August 31, 2016

Mid-South cotton normally “turns,” or reaches senescence, during the early weeks of the football season. This year, there are reasons why that change is already appearing before the first kickoff.

Harvest

Harvesting Bottom Line Advantages

August 11, 2016

Options such as co-ownership and sharing of farm equipment are helping provide financial advantages to growers across the country.

Around The Gin
Product News

Valent Introduces Valor EZ Herbicide for 2017

December 1, 2016

Valent has introduced Valor EZ Herbicide as a residual herbicide partner for the new next generation seed systems in cotton and soybeans.

Product News

Wearable Cotton Sensors Developed

November 29, 2016

Conductive cotton fabrics have been developed into flexible wearable sensors, creating new options for cotton textiles.

Product News

Dow AgroSciences, U.S. Farmers Disagree with Proposal to Revoke Chlorpyrifos Tolerances

November 10, 2016

Dow AgroSciences is standing by the safety of proper use of chlorpyrifos, in the face of EPA’s release of a pre-publication copy of the Notice of Data Availability related to its assessment of human health risks associated with the insecticide.

Product News

Advanced Germplasm and Traits Help Growers Thrive in Cotton

November 7, 2016

PhytoGen offers options to improve fiber quality and control weeds, helping growers to out-best their best and thrive in cotton.

Product News

EPA Sets Comment Period for Enlist Duo Label Expansion

November 2, 2016

The U.S. EPA has set a public comment period until December 1 for proposed label amendments for Enlist Duo, which would allow use on Enlist cotton and extend product use on all Enlist crops to 19 other states.

Product News

Helping Cotton Growers Be Good Neighbors

November 1, 2016

Good fences make good neighbors. But these days, on-target herbicide applications also can help make growers good neighbors.

Product News

Americot Offers New XtendFlex Cotton Varieties for 2017

October 28, 2016

In 2017, Americot will offer three new Bollgard II XtendFlex varieties and one new XtendFlex only variety to cotton growers.

Product News

Bayer Delivers Right Combinations for Performance and Profit

October 27, 2016

The extensive economic data documenting earnings from FiberMax and Stoneville varieties helps make the Bayer lineup the first stop for variety decisions.

Latest News
Cotton Production

EPA Registers Dicamba Formulation for Use On Dicamba Tolerant Crops

November 9, 2016

The EPA has registered Monsanto's XtendiMax with Vapor Grip technology - a new, low volatility dicamba formulation - for use in weed control programs in cotton and soybean crops engineered for dicamba tolerance.

Harvest

Cotton Looks Promising in Texas’ Rolling and High Plains

October 19, 2016

Good late-summer rains improved conditions for cotton in the Rolling and High Plains regions of Texas and likely mean an above-average crop for 2016.

Harvest

Possible Storm Impact on North Carolina Cotton

October 11, 2016

NC State specialists offer guidelines for making harvest decisions on cotton acres impacted by tropical storm Matthew.

Planting

Increasing Planter Capacity: Go Faster or Wider?

October 11, 2016

New technologies are giving growers more options to speed up planting. The best solution is the one better suited for your field shape and size.

Harvest

NCC Urges Cotton Quality Maintenance Following Rain Events

October 7, 2016

Growers and ginners are urged to follow proper guidelines to preserve cotton crop quality following Hurricane Matthew and other rain events at harvest.

Harvest

2016 Mid-South Defoliation Guide Now Online

September 9, 2016

The 2016 edition of the Mid-South Cotton Defoliation Guide is complete and now available online.

Harvest

Managing Proper Defoliation Timing

September 1, 2016

Proper defoliation planning helps protect yields. But it’s just as important when it comes to maximizing fiber quality.

Harvest

Is Cotton Turning Too Soon?

August 31, 2016

Mid-South cotton normally “turns,” or reaches senescence, during the early weeks of the football season. This year, there are reasons why that change is already appearing before the first kickoff.

Harvest

Harvesting Bottom Line Advantages

August 11, 2016

Options such as co-ownership and sharing of farm equipment are helping provide financial advantages to growers across the country.

Harvest

Proper Timing of Harvest Aids Focus of New Webcast

July 25, 2016

A new webcast explaining proper timing and use of harvest aids has been added to the Focus on Cotton online series from the Plant Management Network and Cotton Incorporated.

Cotton Production

Lessons from the 2011 Drought

July 7, 2016

Years of drought in the Southwest have changed the way cotton producers think about water management.

Cotton Production

More Impact on Cotton Yields from Rotation, Cover Crops

July 6, 2016

After eight years of research on cotton crop tillage, Dr. Paul DeLaune is convinced that yields are impacted more by the cover crop and/or rotation.

Production Outlook / Acreage

USDA: 10 Million Cotton Acres Planted in 2016

July 1, 2016

USDA’s first acreage report for 2016 shows that U.S. cotton growers have planted 10 million acres in 2016 – a 17% jump above last year's plantings.

Cotton Production

Managing Texas-Sized Growth

July 1, 2016

When his farm operation suddenly doubled in size, Eric Seidenberger did what he knew best – go for it!

Cotton Production

Texas Cotton Crop a Story of Extremes

June 29, 2016

According to Texas cotton specialists, conditions have gone from one extreme to the other for cotton growers around the state.