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

USDA Lowers U.S. Cotton Production and Export Estimates

September 11, 2014

Based on information contained in USDA’s September World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates Report, U.S. cotton production and exports for 2014 will both be down over earlier projections.

News

Registration Open for Cotton Incorporated Crop Management Seminar

October 21, 2014

Cotton Incorporated will conduct its 2014 Crop Management Seminar on November 12-13 at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center. And attendees can expect an economic and environmental focus on keeping cotton sustainable.

Harvest

Storms Shred Thousands of Cotton Acres in Arkansas

October 9, 2014

To date, Mother Nature has blessed the latter part of the cotton season – including early harvest – with favorable weather. Occasionally, however, her angry side does appear.   Violent storms containing golf ball-sized hail ravaged nearly 10,000 acres of

Cotton Production

Updated Mid-South Defoliation Guide Now Available Online

September 16, 2014

With defoliation and harvest season nearing, the 2014 Mid-South Defoliation Guide has been updated and is ready for grower use.

Cotton Production

New Cotton Webcasts Focus on Using Yield Monitor Data for Precision Planning

September 10, 2014

Two new webcasts to help growers successfully capture and use data from yield monitors have been added to the Focus on Cotton online webcast resource, developed by Cotton Incorporated and the Plant Management Network.

Cotton Production

Terminate Cotton Irrigation at First Cracked Boll

August 26, 2014

Darrin Dodds, Mississippi State Extension cotton specialist, says that when growers see the first cracked boll in their cotton fields, it’s time to terminate their irrigation program.

Cotton Production

Cotton Harvest Looking Good in Lower Rio Grande Valley

August 15, 2014

As cotton harvest begins in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, growers are optimistic that this year’s crop will help erase the disappointments of the last few growing seasons.

Around The Gin

Product News

Grow Ag Leaders Scholarship Program Includes Cotton Belt States

October 28, 2014

Grow Ag Leaders is offering more than $500,000 in college scholarships to students interested in agricultural careers. The program is available in 40 states, including many throughout the Cotton Belt.

Product News

Platform Specialty Products to Acquire Arysta LifeScience as Component for New Company

October 21, 2014

Platform Specialty Products has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Arysta LifeScience for approximately $3.51 billion.

Product News

PhytoGen Partners with Farmers to Aid Local Charities

October 17, 2014

Since becoming a partner in the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year program three years ago, PhytoGen has made donations to 25 charities on behalf of state farmers of the year.

Product News

Enlist Duo Herbicide Approved; Enlist Weed Control System Now Cleared for Use

October 16, 2014

The Enlist Weed Control System from Dow AgroSciences has been approved for field use in corn and soybeans in 2015 by federal regulatory authorities, with introduction in cotton still scheduled for 2016.

News

Registration for 2015 Beltwide Cotton Conferences Opens as Program Takes Shape

October 3, 2014

Registration now is open for the 2015 Beltwide Cotton Conferences, set for January 5-7 at the Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio, TX.

Product News

October 10 Deadline for Public Comments on Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System Plants

September 25, 2014

The public comment period on the draft environmental impact statement for cotton and soybean plants for Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System will remain open through October 10.

Cotton Production

New Cotton Webcasts Focus on Using Yield Monitor Data for Precision Planning

September 10, 2014

Two new webcasts to help growers successfully capture and use data from yield monitors have been added to the Focus on Cotton online webcast resource, developed by Cotton Incorporated and the Plant Management Network.

Marketing

First Class Selected for Cotton Research and Promotion Program Hall of Fame

September 8, 2014

Five honorees have been elected to the first class of Cotton Incorporated’s newly-established Cotton Research and Promotion Program Hall of Fame.

Latest News

News

Registration Open for Cotton Incorporated Crop Management Seminar

October 21, 2014

Cotton Incorporated will conduct its 2014 Crop Management Seminar on November 12-13 at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center. And attendees can expect an economic and environmental focus on keeping cotton sustainable.

Harvest

Storms Shred Thousands of Cotton Acres in Arkansas

October 9, 2014

To date, Mother Nature has blessed the latter part of the cotton season – including early harvest – with favorable weather. Occasionally, however, her angry side does appear.   Violent storms containing golf ball-sized hail ravaged nearly 10,000 acres of

Cotton Production

Updated Mid-South Defoliation Guide Now Available Online

September 16, 2014

With defoliation and harvest season nearing, the 2014 Mid-South Defoliation Guide has been updated and is ready for grower use.

Cotton Production

USDA Lowers U.S. Cotton Production and Export Estimates

September 11, 2014

Based on information contained in USDA’s September World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates Report, U.S. cotton production and exports for 2014 will both be down over earlier projections.

Cotton Production

Terminate Cotton Irrigation at First Cracked Boll

August 26, 2014

Darrin Dodds, Mississippi State Extension cotton specialist, says that when growers see the first cracked boll in their cotton fields, it’s time to terminate their irrigation program.

Cotton Production

Cotton Harvest Looking Good in Lower Rio Grande Valley

August 15, 2014

As cotton harvest begins in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, growers are optimistic that this year’s crop will help erase the disappointments of the last few growing seasons.

Cotton Production

NCC Commends Timely Implementation of STAX for Cotton

August 13, 2014

The National Cotton Council applauded the announcement that the Stacked Income Protection Plan – or STAX – will be available to upland cotton producers in 2015 through the federal crop insurance program.

Cotton Production

USDA Launches Website to Assist New Farmers and Ranchers

August 9, 2014

USDA has developed a New Farmer website as a resource to help guide the next generation of farmers through the challenges of starting and building a farming operation.

Cotton Production

Enrollment Opens for Cotton Transition Assistance Program

August 8, 2014

Cotton growers have from August 11 until October 7 to enroll for the Cotton Transition Assistance Program, an interim payment program created by the 2014 Farm Bill.

Cotton Production

Bolls Seen in Nearly Half of U.S. Crop; Overall Condition Remains Highly Favorable

July 28, 2014

The USDA Crop Progress report for July 27 shows squaring and boll set numbers on target with the five-year averages, and overall crop condition well above the same week last year.

Cotton Production

Crop Progress: Overall Condition Still Solid; Boll Set Numbers Jump

July 21, 2014

According to the July 20 USDA Crop Progress report, squaring and boll set numbers are now above the five-year averages for the date, and overall crop condition remains unchanged in the past week.

Cotton Production

Fruiting Totals Jump in July 13 Crop Progress Report

July 14, 2014

According to the July 13 USDA Crop Progress report, the 2014 cotton crop is fruiting quickly and is now right in line with the five-year averages for this date.

Cotton Production

First Certified Cotton Bale of 2014 Delivered to Gin

July 10, 2014

While most cotton growers are battling plant bugs and resistant weeds and watching for first blooms, Sam and Josh Ruiz of La Feria, TX have delivered 2014’s first official certified bale of cotton.

Cotton Production

Overall Cotton Crop Condition Well Ahead of 2013 Ratings

July 7, 2014

The July 6 Crop Progress report shows that 2014 cotton acres are running slightly behind last year in terms of squaring and boll set, but are in far better condition at this time than the 2013 crop.

Cotton Production

USDA Reports Nine Percent Jump in Cotton Acres for 2014

July 2, 2014

U.S. cotton acres for 2014 are up nine percent over last year, according to the USDA Acreage report released June 30.