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Pickers and strippers need to be well-maintained before, during, and after the harvest season. Entering the season with well-prepped machinery can save valuable time that might otherwise be spent trying to fix mechanical problems during harvest. Along this line, close inspection of equipment is suggested and any parts that appear to be worn or damaged be replaced before harvest. Proper alignment is also conducive to clean harvest as trash in the lint will be minimized.
In terms of timing of harvest, it is important that the crop is both open and free of leaves, weeds and other extraneous material. Harvesting cotton dampened with dew can cause problems with equipment and fiber quality. Consequently, testing seed cotton with a moisture meter is suggested.
If no meter is available for testing moisture, North Carolina State University recommends biting the seed, as dry seeds will crack, indicating moisture is low enough for harvest.
Only dry cotton with very little trash should be stored in modules. Monitoring temperatures inside the module for the first 5 to 7 days will alert growers to problems as rapid and continuing rises in temperature of 15 to 20 ̊ F indicates high moisture and the need for immediate ginning. It is recommended that ginning be expedited when temperatures inside modules reach 110 ̊ F. Other suggestions include:
This article is from the Cotton Management Guide, a publication with year-round advice on managing high-yielding cotton. Download the Deltapine Cotton Management Guide now or sign up for new content to be delivered to your email each month.