Protect Your Profits: Revolutionary Harvesters Could Save You Money

As 2014 begins, it’s clear that cotton growers will be looking for cost-cutting efficiencies to help them remain productive and profitable, regardless of acreage and/or market prices. Our Cotton Grower editors recently outlined five topics to help growers protect their profits. Topic number five: Module-building harvesters can pay off much quicker than you think.

 

When John Deere and CASE IH introduced their on-board module building cotton pickers six years ago, it didn’t take long for the nation’s cotton producers to warm up to the new equipment.

Orders were coming in for the CASE IH Module Express 625 and its counterpart, the John Deere 7760, just as fast as the companies could produce them. For the next several years, waiting lists were created for the equipment, as cotton producers clamored for the revolutionary harvest equipment

The reason for the demand was simple. These machines saved you money.

“The new systems have the potential to do away with the module builder and the boll buggy,” said Dr. Gregg Ibendahl, a Mississippi State University agricultural economist, when the harvesters were first introduced. “Not only can you eliminate these two pieces of equipment, you can also eliminate the tractors and labor that go with each, potentially saving over $22 an acre.”

But for a significant portion of the Cotton Belt, those savings didn’t compute. Growers in the Southwest who operated under stripper-picker harvest systems were unable to utilize the new technology, because the on-board module building harvesters only came equipped on traditional picker-machinery.

In the years since the CASE IH Module Express 625 and John Deere 7760 were first introduced, growers in much of the Southwest have been vocal about their interest in a stripper version of the equipment. In areas like the northern reaches of the High Plains of Texas, the module-building stripper innovations could prove monumental.

“That’s going to be the biggest deal coming,” said Kendall Devault, a cotton producer in Farwell, TX. “It’s going to be a game changer for the cotton gins and for cotton farmers. You’re going to have one of those on-board module builders working for five or six guys – just for one custom harvester. It’s going to help the cotton industry in this area of the country.”

Although both John Deere and CASE IH are rumored to be working on developing module-building strippers, in some cases innovative farm professionals have taken matters into their own hands.

Brian Ramaekers of Full Circle Custom near Hart, TX, is one such entrepreneur who broke out his welding equipment and outfitted one of the John Deere 7760 harvesters with stripper parts.

“I bought a used 2011 model in January of 2012. Me and a local welder who is a friend of mine started in on it immediately,” said Ramaekers. “We decided to put two burr extractors on it to give it greater capacity. I really think next year I’ll have 12 rows on it. I think that’s the way to go.”

Ramaekers also made other small modifications – removing water, fuel and grease tanks while building and finding a spot for the new fuel tank. Ultimately, he wound up with a piece of machinery that has saved him money and headaches in the subsequent harvest seasons.

As a custom harvester, he follows the trends of the growers in his surrounding area. So when growers switched out of grains and back into cotton in 2012, Ramaekers found himself suddenly in need of cotton harvest equipment. “I couldn’t hardly make myself go out and buy a boll buggy, module builder and all the support equipment that goes with it,” Ramaekers said. “The thought of the extra labor, going back into it, just made me sick, too. One of my main drives was to get away from the labor situation again.”

The results he’s found on the northern High Plains have been similar to growers in the Mid-South and Southeast who have invested in module-building harvesters.

“It’s great not worrying about anybody else, or any other pieces of equipment,” Ramaekers said.

Leave a Reply

Cotton Production Stories
Harvest

Preserving Fiber Quality Should Drive Defoliation Decisions

August 25, 2015

When making defoliation plans, there is more economic incentive for growers to maintain fiber quality when cotton prices are low versus when cotton prices are higher.

Harvest

Key Considerations for Cotton Defoliation

August 27, 2015

With the 2015 cotton crop quickly winding down, it’s time for growers to be making their defoliation plans.

Production Outlook / Acreage

Pima Cotton Industry Shrinking in California

August 12, 2015

Drought and other market forces are taking a toll on California’s Pima cotton industry.

Harvest

First Bale for 2015 Delivered to Texas Gin

August 7, 2015

The first certified bale of U.S. cotton for 2015 was delivered to the Harlingen Gin Company by the Ortega brothers of Mercedes, TX.

Production Outlook / Acreage

USDA to Update Texas Cotton Acres Info

July 6, 2015

Due to weather delays that left a portion of cotton acres yet to be planted in Texas, USDA will collect updated information in July to help determine if the state’s numbers in the recent Acreage report need to be revised.

Planting

NC State: PGR Management Considerations

June 17, 2015

Side-dressing could help spur vigorous cotton growth, especially with timely rain. According to the NC State Extension cotton team, it’s time to start PGR management plans.

Planting

El Nino Weather Good for High Plains Cotton

May 12, 2015

The Texas High Plains are benefitting from the current El Nino weather pattern. And that’s good news for this year’s cotton crop.

Around The Gin
Product News

Falcon Adds Two New Automated Precision Soil Samplers

August 28, 2015

Falcon Soil Technology has added two new automated soil sampling systems to its product lineup.

Product News

HUMA GRO Adds New Boron Liquid Nutrient Formulation for Crops

August 28, 2015

BORO-MAX, a new boron 10 percent liquid nutrient formulation, is now available from HUMA GRO.

Product News

On-Farm Research Helps Ease Grower Questions About Enlist System

July 31, 2015

Southern cotton and soybean growers who have worked with the Enlist Weed Control System in on-farm research plots are now sharing their experiences.

Product News

Nufarm Introduces Panther SC Herbicide

July 24, 2015

Nufarm is introducing Panther SC herbicide, a new broad-spectrum herbicide for use in cotton and other Southern row crops.

Product News

USDA Deregulates Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist Cotton Trait

July 23, 2015

The USDA has deregulated Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist cotton trait in the United States.

Product News

Ratting Out Copper Theft

June 10, 2015

A simple alarm technology is helping to stop copper thieves who target irrigation systems.

Product News

EPA Approves New Premix for 2016 for Cotton, Soybean Weed Control

May 29, 2015

Cotton and soybean growers will have a new weed control option in 2016 with Warrant Ultra Herbicide, a premix of acetochlor and fomesafen.

Product News

Deltapine NPE Program Begins Eighth Year of On-Farm Variety Evaluation

April 28, 2015

Nearly 200 farmers will be part of the Deltapine New Product Evaluator program this year to help evaluate cotton variety candidates for the Deltapine Class of 16.

Latest News
Harvest

Key Considerations for Cotton Defoliation

August 27, 2015

With the 2015 cotton crop quickly winding down, it’s time for growers to be making their defoliation plans.

Harvest

Preserving Fiber Quality Should Drive Defoliation Decisions

August 25, 2015

When making defoliation plans, there is more economic incentive for growers to maintain fiber quality when cotton prices are low versus when cotton prices are higher.

Harvest

When’s the Best Time to Terminate Cotton Irrigation?

August 18, 2015

As cotton moves closer to maturity, growers need to consider certain factors carefully when deciding to turn the water off for this year’s crop.

Production Outlook / Acreage

Pima Cotton Industry Shrinking in California

August 12, 2015

Drought and other market forces are taking a toll on California’s Pima cotton industry.

Harvest

First Bale for 2015 Delivered to Texas Gin

August 7, 2015

The first certified bale of U.S. cotton for 2015 was delivered to the Harlingen Gin Company by the Ortega brothers of Mercedes, TX.

Production Outlook / Acreage

Holding Their Ground Against Pigweed

July 7, 2015

Cotton growers in northeastern Alabama are working hard to keep pigweed in check – often by any means possible.

Production Outlook / Acreage

USDA to Update Texas Cotton Acres Info

July 6, 2015

Due to weather delays that left a portion of cotton acres yet to be planted in Texas, USDA will collect updated information in July to help determine if the state’s numbers in the recent Acreage report need to be revised.

Planting

NC State: PGR Management Considerations

June 17, 2015

Side-dressing could help spur vigorous cotton growth, especially with timely rain. According to the NC State Extension cotton team, it’s time to start PGR management plans.

Planting

El Nino Weather Good for High Plains Cotton

May 12, 2015

The Texas High Plains are benefitting from the current El Nino weather pattern. And that’s good news for this year’s cotton crop.

Cotton Production

Making the Most of What He Has

May 5, 2015

On his cotton farm near Stanton, TX, Johnny Louder takes each challenge in stride.

Disease Control / Nematodes

New Cotton Webcasts Focus on Seedling Diseases and Soil Fertility

April 29, 2015

Two new webcasts focusing on seedling diseases and soil fertility have been added to the Focus on Cotton online webcast resource.

Planting

Don’t Let Early Season Thrips and Weed Management Impact Seedling Vigor

April 17, 2015

Increased challenges in early season thrips and weed management can potentially impact the value of vigorous cotton seedling growth.

Planting

Late Cotton Burndown Strategies

April 15, 2015

With cotton planting set to begin soon, many growers are looking for burndown options for their cotton acres.

Planting

Choose Proper Seeding Rate for Optimum Plant Populations

April 15, 2015

With cotton planting ready to begin, it’s important for growers to keep the difference between seeding rates and plant populations in mind.

Planting

Cotton Variety Test Comparisons Now Available Online

April 8, 2015

Cotton Incorporated and Extension cotton specialists have partnered with SeedMatrix to make cotton variety yield test comparisons easily accessible to producers via computer, smartphone or tablet.