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Cotton Patch . . . A Cotton Thread


Fred B

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.....Well.......there is a sad looking picture !!!

.......after looking at the horrendous damage , that  the 1919 hurricane  achieved in Corpus Christi.........I hooked the computer  to the TV   set....(yes..I  can actually do that ...!!!)...and spent two hours watching,.......  , via you tube, .....those pictures , which included a personal    account from a lady who survived...somehow......This must have been recorded    years gone of course.    The amount of timber piled up must have been thousands of board feet........Watched other , later  accounts   / film      of hurricanes.......unbelievable devastation.....

..I spent three years   working in the Caribbean.....and in 2004 or 2005, Hurricane    "Dennis" came through the Islands where I worked......Incredible experience for  me ...

...I have two 504  Farmall   Diesel tractors...very handy for some jobs........also a standard 504

.....Good thought on the U tube link to the 1919 disaster,.......Thanks Fred   :)

Mike

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Twosteppin, If you could post the photos, it would be nice to see, just at your convenience.  Our closest neighbor had a 504 back in the day.  They used it to roll seed bed, behind planter (firm seed bed).  It was a separate trip after the surface dried a bit.  My Dad in 1959 bought a new V-22.  The cotton was real short that year and as far as I know this was the industries' first brush roll cotton stripper.  Tho there is text of a brush roll cotton picker being patented in 1929?  I believe oldbinder guy had some early photos of a homemade one on an F20 a year or so ago.  Anyway, this thing was manufactured in Raymondville, TX by Frontier Industries Inc.  We did not think to take photos of this machine back when we used it.  We had mounted it on a Farmall M. Dad called one of the reporters from the Corpus Christi Caller newspaper that he knew and they came out and did a story on that machine.  I have since misplaced the photo but it was very grainy.  Anyway, we used it for several years, probably in about 1964 it got backed up into the shed where we took it off.  It's still there today tho not in very good shape.  We just didn't think that we should save this thing for posterity.  Of course, this thing had no electronics, no flexible cables, one double acting hydraulic cylinder used single acting to lift the row units and one lift all cylinder to lift the elevator to the trailer towed behind.  For stripper unit operating depth you can see in one of the photos there it had a flatiron (to bolt to tractor side frame) with a keyhole punched in it for a log chain type to adjust row units for height. Works good, never had a problem with it.   Back when it was new I remember there being a handful of them around.  This is the only one I know of today. 

Here is a photo of the machine in the shed and at this late date I've taken a photo of the decal but it's kind of bad by now. 

The decal reads:   V-22.  Cotton Harvester.  MFD. by Frontier Industries, Inc.  MU 9 - 2713 - Raymondville, Texas Box ??

1197068504_IMG_1720(2).thumb.JPG.add170343c97e498752a44a840c2f2f5.JPG

 

 

Here is a photo of the back of the brush roll unit.  If I remember this thing was all weldments.  I don't think the company casted anything.  They did use a small gear box made by Hub City.  

IMG_1661.thumb.JPG.e50fb4b1f81cf6c9ce939f54a1071ff1.JPG

 

Here is a photo of the front of the brush roll unit, one row unit on each side of the tractor.  It has two teepees on the top of it.  There is a turnbuckle where you loosen a 1/2 in nut and simply rotate the crossbar to change width of stripping rolls.  Then retighten nut.  On John Deere you had to take a cover off down at the bottom, loosen some clamp bolts, take a 3/4 in open end and change a nut on an eye bolt to do the same thing as the V-22 but you had to do it on both sides of each row.  On International you had to loosen 1" nuts on some clamps and tap a slotted casting to do the same thing as the V-22, but again had to do it on both sides of each row.  

IMG_1667.thumb.JPG.a3e43a3ac0c3a8e9681f2dfebb3950f1.JPG

 

Here is a photo of the paddle elevator that dropped the cotton into an air stream and then into the towed behind trailer.  

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My Dad had this round top building built in 1954 for his new Massey Harris 90 SP combine.  It was a sorry building to begin with.  It leaked from day one.  They came out and worked with it for several years trying to get it to stop leaking.  Today it is perforated pretty good.  

If anyone runs across a photo of a yellow, two row stripper with the four little teepees in the front, I'd like to know about it.   I believe Hesston bought the patents to this stripper.        Fred

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 7 months later...

Finished our sorghum crop, went off without a hitch, maybe still 5% sorghum in the county to be harvested.  

We went out on a limb and bought a second hand John Deere round module picker, although I believe JD is calling it a baler picker.  Had to do quite a bit of work to it.  It's a 2011 machine.  

The 2012s have a variable speed engine cooling fan that are giving problems.  They also have much more pollution controls. 

Anyway, barely got it in good working order and the neighbor we got it from wants us to come harvest ahead of Hurricane Hanna.  Our cotton was not ready.  Still needs maybe 10 days.  We got it going about noon last Friday.  Had some teething problems with it.  First time we've ever messed with one of these machines.  Managed to get out 2-1/4 modules before rain came.  Here is some photos of the goings on.  The field we were working in looks to be about 3 bale/acre cotton.  

Here we are loading the wrap.  Quite a little ordeal.  

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Below is the machine in the field.  

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Here is the machine after the first round module.  You can carry it until the next one is ready to come out, then it can be dumped on the go.  

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Here below is a photo of the module moving spear.  Simple back the tractor into the module, raise lift, transport to line it up.  Takes four of these round modules to make one full size 32 ft old module.  One round module equals a little more than four bales, should weigh around 6,000.  

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Here is my cotton after the storm, ( Hanna ).    It's had 2-3/4 inches rain on it.  Maybe 25% open.  Didn't do it any good.  

IMG_1182.JPG

 

Here is a shot of some tall cotton near my home where my home breaks our southeast prevailing wind.  Believe it also didn't get any growth regulator.  Didn't have tape measure with me but measured the broom later.  It is 54" tall.  Normal cotton height is about 3-1/2 feet.  

007.JPG

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Fred, will the cotton that got wet be salvageable? It doesn't look as though it had a lot of wind to knock it flat and into the mud? 

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Interesting..never seen one in the field but pretty familiar with where they originate and a few teething problems in relation to that aspect.

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Fred, got a question maybe you can answer. l also posted the pics of a picker on a 504 and a stripper on a ? tractor. You can't read the model badge. Some folks say it's a 504, some say it's a 544. But back to my question. l've seen quite a few for sale ads this year for the JD CP690's and the CS690's. And most of the ads will have something like "engines hours- xxxx". But it will also have "fan hours- xxxx".  Why is fan hours so important that it is listed in the ad? l'll do some internet looking and see if l can find any info on your old stripper. l have found tons of old pics of early cotton sleds and strippers in the Texas Tech archives.

IH 504-picker1.jpg

IH 544 model #22 cotton stripper.jpg

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the wind and rain didn't do too much damage to the cotton, as long as the leaves are still on it is protected some. it may reduce the grade a little, which will mean a little  price reduction. the plant itself will stand up pretty good.  these module pickers have to be kept very clean. I still don't know all the workings of them, but I understand there is a adhesive strip that has to be heated to close the  wrap. many hire someone to come at night and  clean the machine. seems there is one a year that burns. those are nice photos of the (to me 504's) the one under the picker is newer notice the larger radiator side panels, bigger to guard fingers from fan. The fan hours are the time the machine is picking, engine hours include road time, high engine hours generally mean it's a custom operator.

T

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7 hours ago, Fred B said:

The fan hours are the time the machine is picking, engine hours include road time, high engine hours generally mean it's a custom operator.

Thanks Fred, don't know why l didn't think of that. Maybe l was looking for a literal term, like "cotton pickin' hours"...lol  And you're right about the machines having fires. l''m in several cotton related groups on FB and during harvest season always hearing about a picker or a stripper catching fire. And usually at least one major fire where modules stacked on a gin yard catch fire. Here is a pic of a gin yard fire at a gin near Lamesa, Texas several years ago.

 

module fire-lamesa.jpg

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On 7/28/2020 at 9:04 AM, twostepn2001 said:

Fred, got a question maybe you can answer. l also posted the pics of a picker on a 504 and a stripper on a ? tractor. You can't read the model badge. Some folks say it's a 504, some say it's a 544. But back to my question. l've seen quite a few for sale ads this year for the JD CP690's and the CS690's. And most of the ads will have something like "engines hours- xxxx". But it will also have "fan hours- xxxx".  Why is fan hours so important that it is listed in the ad? l'll do some internet looking and see if l can find any info on your old stripper. l have found tons of old pics of early cotton sleds and strippers in the Texas Tech archives.

IH 504-picker1.jpg

IH 544 model #22 cotton stripper.jpg

I will chime in--the top picture of the cotton picker is a 504 diesel with a #501 low drum cotton picker ( you got on and off on the left side of a 501 and on and off on the right side of a 314).

The stripper tractor is also definitely a 504 not a 544 and the stripper is a #22 introduced in 1964.

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HC thanks for chiming in on the 504,  I wonder why they made 2 different back wheel centers, I'm thinking their both 38" rims, maybe the one w/out spokes is heavy duty?  I picked up a gasoline, like the one with the stripper last year.

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On 7/29/2020 at 11:03 AM, oleman said:

I once manually picked 218# of high quality cotton in one long working day! If I remember correctly I got 3 cents per pound to pick. 

 

Picking 218 lbs of cotton by hand doesn't set any record-------but is a pretty good days work.  Someone who could pick 300+ lbs was considered really good.

That would have been back in the day when it took approximately 14---1500 lbs of seed cotton to gin out a 500 lb bale.

Ironically----- some of the better hand pickers were women.  They were just more nimble fingered. Lots of times the. black women would get to singing and get into a rhythm--------fingers steady moving.

As hard of work as it was------some of the older black folks would still want to hand pick some every fall.  They just enjoyed it.

I never hand picked any cotton-----other than for the fun of it.  My dad bought one of the 1st mechanical pickers here in our local county in 1948 (I would have been 5 yrs old at the time).  Didn't take long for folks to realize the economical advantages of the mechanical pickers.

The last hand picked cotton I remember seeing was on a small farm in Bolivar County Mississippi sometime in the early 1990's.  The owner was an elderly black man (probably mid 80's age).  It was a cold, wet and muddy day------with nothing moving in the fields but this elderly old black fellow "with a 9 ft sack tied to his back".  Needless to say-----He had fallen behind the times with mechanization on the farm.  I talked about it a little in the field with him saying "he just enjoyed picking cotton---- problem was he couldn't find anybody else to come pick with him".

Last of the old breed------had not thought about that in years.

 

DD

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18 hours ago, Fred B said:

HC thanks for chiming in on the 504,  I wonder why they made 2 different back wheel centers, I'm thinking their both 38" rims, maybe the one w/out spokes is heavy duty?  I picked up a gasoline, like the one with the stripper last year.

The solid wheel center on the cotton picker is on the opposite side of the header and opposite side of the basket when it dumps. Counter weight like the heavy side of an offset tractor, like cub or A farmall.

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I can remember in the late 1950s of old Mexican American men talking about pulling (called bollies) a bale of cotton a day.  Towards the end of the hand harvesting era, almost all cotton was pulled, burr and all as opposed to picking, which meant picking just the white lint and leaving the burr on the plant.  Early gins could not separate that much trash but later gins were capable of doing that.  The ginning would cost more but that's the way it was done.  The cotton in the northern panhandle of Texas was short due to lack of moisture and the cotton leaves were dropped off due to frost.  They had wire hoops sewn into the mouth of their sacks and would cup both hands, wearing gloves, fingers pointing to each other, start at the bottom of the plant and strip upwards, and throw it into the open sack and just keep moving down the row.  Some could harvest a bale per day.  

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
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Some cotton round here when I was a kid. It went away when the gin in Dardanel shut down back in the 70s. The poultry industry needed lots of corn and pays a positive price basis over Chicago so corn is grown on all that old cotton ground.

Back in the old days they grew cotton everywhere here. I can't imagine making much cotton up in the ozark mountains but there were even gins up there. 

In all fairness to the cotton pickers, they yield alot more cotton in the delta than in most of Texas. It must be easier to pick more cotton in tall high yielding cotton. It's hard to imagine how much labor was needed back then, chopping, hoeing, picking, etc.

Thx-Ace 

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16 hours ago, acem said:

 

Back in the old days they grew cotton everywhere here. I can't imagine making much cotton up..........

 

Thx-Ace 

One of Ray Charles' big hits-------

"You can't pick very much cotton-----when those cotton bolls are rotten......"

*******

That wuz also back in the days when I writ my first big hit (well it will be as soon as I release it!!!!!)?

Song being:  Long rows of Cotton-----Short Rows of Love

Lots of things to think about there.

Mechanical pickers:  love them long row and dread the short rows (too much wasted time turning around)

Hand pickers:  favor the "short rows" sorta dread them long rows.  I have forgotten but seems like had something to do with love or making love????

Maybe our buddy  (TwoStep)  from out there in "stripper country" can rekindle my memories on turning around fast when in the short rows and how it relates to a cotton field or love??

I do remember something about short rows creating alot of sweat in either situation!!!?

Damm-------getting old is hel!.

I am hoping to get Gary Yaeger (Old Binder Guy here on RedPower) to furnish the music for me from his squeeze box.  We will get it together one of these days.?

 

DD

 

 

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2 hours ago, 88power said:

Whats the difference between picking and stripping?

A picker pulls the cotton lint (the white part) out of the open boll/burr and don't have a lot of trash in it.  A stripper does exactly what the name implies....strips the open bolls and lint off the plant leaving only the stalk.

The reasons for using a picker versus a stripper depends on a lot of things. Pickers will harvest a lot cleaner lint which means higher grades and prices per pound. But strippers can harvest faster. Not only faster mph in the field but also amount of rows at a time. Most pickers are 4 or 6 rows as to where a stripper is usually 8 rows but l've seen a few with 12 row units.

Also has a lot to do with the region and varieties of cotton being grown. Shorter growing seasons usually means stripper cotton varieties and a longer season means picker cotton varieties. There are lots of other reasons that Tony Ramos, Anson (Delta Dirt) or Fred B. can probably tell you better than l can. 

The reason l have green and yeller pics is because CIH don't build strippers anymore and l think they haven't built a picker since 2014? 

john deere CP690.png

john deere CS690.png

JD 12 row stripper.jpg

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Stepin got it right, stripper is for mostly areas with less rain, so shorter cotton.  Pickers are best in areas of higher rain fall or irrigation with taller and higher yielding varieties.  Although today there are many high yielding varieties to choose from.  There is one variety that has a 4 bale club.  If you yield 4 bales or more per acre, they put your name in a hat and the winner gets to use a new pickup for a year.  Here is a photo of bales dropped off before I lined them up in groups of 4 for the module truck to pick up.  Also a little grass check where the round up sprayer stopped a little short of the row end.  

IMG_1446.thumb.JPG.e073b25cf34837564b736a56970ae050.JPG

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Following up on pickers and strippers:

Pickers use "barbed" spindles to more gently remove the cotton from the open boll--------similar to a man using his fingers to pull the cotton from the open boll.  The boll will be dry and open to a point to where the cotton is easily pulled from the locks of the dried boll.   (Ripe)

As Fred mentioned varieties and weather patterns-------here in the Mississippi Delta area we grow a taller/more bushy stalk on which the bolls typically don't open ("ripen") all at the same time.  A picker can be set to pick over a greener stalk without harming or losing the unopened green bolls.  Then come back and make a 2nd picking when the remainder is open (ripe).

Strippers use smooth spindles or a brush to literally strip the cotton, dried bolls (burrs), leaves, etc from the stalk.  This process works best in the dry land areas out West.  Cotton is sold by grade like most all crops-----so the different machines is all about maximizing profit through yield and grade.

Varieties are constantly being developed for the different areas and harvest processes.

In general terms-------I think of a stripper  being a simpler design; less cost (to purchase or operate) machine than the picker.

Long winded here------- but about as brief as I can describe.  Glad to see ya'll enjoying Fred B's thread.

 

DD

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