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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Cotton Production and Processing Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #258639

Title: The Spindle Type Cotton Harvester

item WILLCUTT, M - Mississippi State University
item BUSCHERMOHLE, M - University Of Tennessee
item HUITINK, G - University Of Arkansas
item BARNES, E - Cotton, Inc
item Wanjura, John
item SEARCY, S - Texas A&M University

Submitted to: Internet Web Page
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/15/2010
Publication Date: 9/15/2010
Citation: Willcutt, M.H., Buschermohle, M.J., Huitink, G.W., Barnes, E.M., Wanjura, J.D., Searcy, S.W. 2010. The spindle type cotton harvester. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The spindle type cotton picker was commercialized during the mid 1900’s and is currently produced by two US agricultural equipment manufacturers, John Deere and CaseIH. Picking is the predominate machine harvest method used throughout the US and world. Harvesting efficiency of a spindle type cotton picker is influenced by many factors including: harvesting unit adjustment, operator error, picking too soon after applying harvest-aid chemicals, picking immature crops, variety selection, worn or damaged harvesting unit components, poor doffing, and cotton conveying system operation. The purpose of this work is to compile information and recommended practices for maintaining and operating spindle pickers for maximum harvesting efficiency and producer return. Cotton pickers should be inspected and properly configured prior to field operation to ensure proper harvesting efficiency. Pre-harvest preparation should include a check for adequate tire pressure and condition, proper row unit tilt, sharp spindles, worn spindle bushings, proper spindle bar height adjustment, sharp doffer lugs, and proper doffer to spindle clearance. During field operation, operators should make sure that compressor door tension is adjusted properly, spindle moistening system pressure is adjusted to adequately clean spindle residue, picker ribs are adjusted for proper clearance, row units are centered on the row and held at the appropriate height to prevent excessive trash contamination, and the air system is adjusted properly to convey harvested cotton from the row unit to the harvester basket. Cotton pickers are mechanically complex and require regular cleaning and service to maintain proper operation.