Long-Awaited On-Board Module Building Strippers Come to the High Plains
Module-building cotton harvesters revolutionized the cotton industry when they were first introduced to the market in 2009. But to those cotton producers who rely on stripper-based harvesting, that revolution seemed to leave them behind.
Finally, after years of toil and innovation, John Deere is introducing the John Deere CS690 Cotton Stripper, hoping to bring the proven successes of on-board module-building harvesters to much of the Southwest. Company representatives say the all-new piece of equipment will reduce labor, fuel and machine costs, while providing a more effective, efficient method of harvesting cotton.
“Simply put, the CS690 helps cotton growers accomplish more in less time,” said Dave Mulder in a release that accompanied the stripper’s unveiling in early April. “High Plains growers can strip their crops and deliver the maximum amount of quality lint to the gin as quickly and efficiently as possible, while reducing labor, boll buggies and other related harvesting costs.”
The CS690 Cotton Stripper drew much of its inspiration from two existing John Deere products – the 7460 Cotton Stripper and the 7760 Cotton Picker which also features on-board module building capabilities.
The CS690 features upgrades in horsepower (500hp 15.5L engine with 30hp boost) and throughput capability (more than 1,000 pounds per minute) over Deere’s previously existing stripper model, the 7460 Cotton Stripper. It also features a 10 percent increase in cotton conveying fan capacity, according to John Deere.
Additionally, the CS690 features updated headers, available in six- and eight-row configurations with 30-, 36-, 38- and 40-inch row spacings. John Deere representatives say the low-profile row units can improve stripping efficiency by more than 97 percent, while offering improved visibility for the operator.
Aesthetically, the CS690 Stripper looks much like the 7760 Cotton Picker. The round bales it produces are virtually indecipherable from those produced by its cotton picking cousin – and that feature is no accident. John Deere representatives say gins around the Cotton Belt have adjusted to be able to facilitate the round bales that are produced by the 7760 Cotton Picker. As such, company representatives tout the new stripper-produced round bales as being gin-friendly.
Much like growers in other regions of the Cotton Belt, Southwest producers have struggled to deal with a dwindling availability of reliable labor on their farms. The introduction of the CS690 could relieve those challenges at harvest time.
“We have a couple of restrictions that limit us in our harvest,” says Floydada, TX, cotton producer Eddie Smith. “One is the continued challenge of keeping qualified labor in our harvest systems. This machine, the CS690, is one that will help us eliminate most of those issues.”
Because the CS690 builds and covers its own modules, it eliminates the need for other equipment such as boll buggies and traditional module builders. Growers familiar with the new equipment say it allows one man to do the same job that previously took 10 men to accomplish. John Deere representatives say the new machine can eliminate labor costs by as much as 78 percent when compared with traditional cotton strippers.
Strong winds provide another distinct challenge to cotton harvest on the High Plains. In the past, gusts have made a mess of things as harvested cotton was transferred from the stripper to the module-builder. Cotton producers in West Texas were helpless as they watched valuable lint fly out of their grasp. More often than not, producers were sidelined due to strong winds during harvest season.
“We lose several days to wind out here,” said Kendall Devault, who farms cotton near Farwell, TX. “In the wind, with our traditional strippers, when we dump, the cotton will go everywhere.
“But with on-board module building cotton strippers, you can go out to the field and strip all day long by yourself, regardless of the wind. It will be a real game-changer in our area,” Devault said.
That ability to harvest “all day long” and non-stop is something John Deere representatives are excited about.
From the cab, the CS690 offers its operator a host of cutting edge features – from a 7.5-inch color touch-screen Command Center display to adjustable header and cleaner speeds. The machine is HarvestDoc ready, which allows for easily accessible yield mapping data. Another popular feature – Harvest Identification, Cotton technology – eliminates manual tagging of modules.
Growers familiar with the machine say they are impressed with how user friendly the stripper is.
“The ease of operation on the CS690 is above and beyond anything that I’ve ever run,” said Mike Henson, a Ropesville, TX, cotton producer. “The touch screen is easy to scroll through and easy to understand. The servicing part of it – servicing your belt and servicing your machine and cleaning it up in the morning – it’s really easy and simple to get through.”
The base list price for the CS690 is $637,521, according to John Deere. Company representatives encourage interested growers to visit the John Deere website or contact their local John Deere representative for more information.