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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 #264258

Title: Picker vs. stripper harvesting in the Texas High Plains: Agronomic implications

item BOMAN, RANDAL - Texas Agrilife Extension
item Wanjura, John
item KELLEY, MARK - Texas Agrilife Extension
item ASHBROOK, CHRIS - Texas Agrilife Extension
item HEQUET, ERIC - Texas Tech University

Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/7/2011
Publication Date: 4/25/2011
Citation: Boman, R.K., Wanjura, J.D., Kelley, M.S., Ashbrook, C., Hequet, E.F. 2011. Picker vs. stripper harvesting in the Texas High Plains: Agronomic implications [abstract]. 2011 Beltwide Cotton Conferences, January 4-7, 2011, Atlanta, Georgia. p. 507-509. 2011 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Many changes have occurred during the last decade in the Texas High Plains which have resulted in increased cotton yields and improved fiber quality. The main factors associated with both higher lint yield and quality include a shift in varieties planted, with virtually no "storm-proof stripper types" being planted now, and a substantial increase in sub-surface drip irrigated (SDI) acres. A significant labor shortage can occur during harvesting operations, and many producers are investigating various avenues to increase the efficiency of harvesting operations. The advent of new picker harvesters with on-board moduling systems may play a role in increasing farm-scale harvesting efficiency. However, many High Plains producers are not accustomed to using more complicated and more costly picker harvesting machines. The brush-roll stripper harvester is the predominant harvester type used in the region, but these machines typically exhibit lower productivity compared to picker harvesters when harvesting high-yielding SDI cotton. With this in mind, commercial-scale experiments were conducted with the objective to compare picker and stripper harvesting and ginning methods. The harvest/ginning systems were compared based on yield, fiber quality measured by USDA-AMS High Volume Instrument (HVI) classing, "economics based on custom harvesting rates," and ultimately Advanced Fiber Information System (AFIS) testing and yarn quality. Since AFIS and spinning trials are ongoing at this time, these data are not presented. Tests were conducted in producer/cooperator SDI fields across the Texas High Plains region over the period from 2008 through 2010. The protocol included generating one commercial module per experimental unit for both the picker and stripper harvesters. A total of four replicates (modules) per site were obtained for each harvester type (4 picker modules and 4 stripper modules per site). Total plot area per harvester varied from ~ 25-40 acres per site depending upon lint yield and plot row length. Locations included: • Acuff, TX 2008 (Mimms Farms): FiberMax 1880B2F was planted to a SDI field with 1250 ft long rows. This site was harvested November 2, 2008 using a John Deere (Moline, IL) 9986 basket picker provided by a custom harvester and a John Deere 7460 stripper with field cleaner provided by Mimms Farms. A total of 63 picker bales were classed from 18.37 acres, and 44 stripper bales classed from 12.24 acres. These numbers do not include remnant bales generated during detailed ginning, but remnant lint weights were included in plot yield totals. Cotton harvested from this site was ginned by the Acuff-McClung Co-op Gin located at Acuff, TX. • Ralls, TX 2008, 2009, and 2010 (Verett Farms): FiberMax 9180B2F was planted to the same SDI field during all three years and plot row lengths were 2740 ft. Plots were harvested November 10, 2008 with 53 picker bales classed from 15.08 acres and 50 stripper bales classed from 13.40 acres. Plots were harvested on November 16, 2009 with a total of 38 picker bales classed from 17.11 acres and 36 stripper bales classed from 14.59 acres. Differential harvesting dates were possible in 2010 and the picker plots were harvested on November 4 while stripper plots were harvested November 18. A total of 51 picker bales were classed from 19.69 acres and 52 stripper bales classed from 19.70 acres. For all three years, a John Deere 9996 was used to harvest the picker plots (operated by USDA-ARS) and a John Deere 7460 stripper with field cleaner (provided and operated by the cooperating producer) was used to harvest the stripper plots. For all three years, cotton harvested from this site was ginned by Owens Co-op Gin located near Ralls, TX. • Ralls CIH 2010 (Verett Farms): The fifth SDI location used was also located near Ralls, TX in 2010. The cultivar used at this site was FiberMax 9170B2F, which i