The long anticipated announcement that John Deere’s model 7760 on-the-go, module-building cotton picker will be commercially available in ‘09 came at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in San Antonio.
The new picker builds unique 8’x7½’ plastic-wrapped round modules. Case IH’s version of an on-the-go, module-building picker, which builds half-sized traditional modules, was introduced in 2006 and is now in its third generation.
“This is a big step forward in new technology to bring even more productivity to our customers in their cotton harvesting operation,” says Jamie Flood, product marketing manager, John Deere Des Moines Works. “The 7760 Picker will build a round module on the machine while harvesting cotton. Then it will wrap the cotton module in a protective film to preserve fiber and seed quality, and minimize any crop loss during handling and transport.
“Without ever stopping the machine during picking, the operator can carry the module to the end of the field to be transported later to the gin,” he adds. “This efficient, non-stop harvesting system eliminates unloading into a boll buggy and processing in a module builder. Ultimately, the producer saves time, fuel and manpower when harvesting and processing the cotton.”
Dr. Gregg Ibendahl, a Mississippi State University agricultural economist, says, “The new systems have the potential to do away with the module builder and the boll buggy. 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 per acre.”
It’s possible that module trucks could also be eliminated with the round modules loaded onto a flatbed trailer.
A First Look
John Smith, who farms south of Lubbock, TX, was able to test the Deere 7760 in 2007. “We were fortunate enough to be able to run the 7760 for a couple of days and we loved it,” Smith says.
Working with Deere again in 2008, he picked 1,600 bales with the 7760. “It’s just the fact that you’re continually harvesting without having to stop and dump,” he adds. “The other nice thing is you don’t have to worry about the labor for boll buggies, module builders and tarping.
“What we found was that you could pick cotton faster than you can strip,” he adds.
Flood explains that the accumulator was designed to store cotton on the Deere 7760 while the module builder is processing the picked cotton. “With a high-volume capacity of 320 cubic feet, the accumulator has the storage to allow the picker to harvest non-stop at up to 4.2 mph in most conditions,” he says.
The accumulator bay includes an automatic compacting auger and six feed rolls for better cotton management. The feed rolls ensure that a flat, evenly distributed sheet of cotton is fed into the round module builder.
Sensors located at both the top and bottom of the accumulator monitor the cotton level and activate and deactivate the feed rolls and auger. This allows the harvester to continue picking while the round module is being wrapped and ejected onto the module handler.