Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/11/2008
Publication Date: 5/1/2008
Citation: Martin, S.W., Valco, T.D. 2008. Economic Comparison of On-Board Module Builder Harvest Methods. In the Proceedings of the National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference. January 8-11, 2008, Nashville, TN. 2008 CDROM. Interpretive Summary: Interest has been growing recently about cotton pickers that build modules on-board. The interest has been born out of the need to reduce costs as well as the shortage of harvest labor in many regions. The ability to use cotton pickers with on-board module builders (OBMB) eliminates the need for boll buggies, module builders, the tractors, and labor needed to operate this machinery. Additionally, field efficiency may be increased due to less stoppage for unloading and/or waiting to unload. The down side of the new pickers is obviously the increased purchase price. Currently, the market environment for cotton production versus grain crops favors grain production in much of the cotton belt. As cotton prices rise in order to secure adequate cotton acreage, the financial feasibility as well as producer interest in cotton production may very well lead to increased market demand for the “new fangled” pickers.
Technical Abstract: Cotton pickers with on-board module builders (OBMB) eliminates the need for boll buggies, module builders, the tractors, and labor needed to operate this machinery. Additionally, field efficiency may be increased due to less stoppage for unloading and/or waiting to unload. This study estimates the cost of production per pound of lint from harvest through ginning for a standard 6-row picker with the needed support equipment (e. g. module builders, boll buggies, tractors and labor), and two versions of the OBMB pickers that build their own modules, Case IH 625 Cotton Module Express (Red System) and John Deere 7760 (Green System). Analysis showed that the Red System had the lowest harvesting/operating costs per acre. Operating costs were lower for the Red System than the Green, due primarily to the lower assumed purchase price. The Red and the Green System’s harvesting costs were lower than the 6RStandard picker, due to the elimination of the equipment and labor expenses associated with the boll buggies and module builders. The Red System also had lower per acre costs delivered to the gin, primarily due to the lower assumed expenses for tarps/covers and module handling as compared to the Green System. Both OBMB systems had a lower cost over the standard 6-row picker.