All Aboard Harvest | Sherry: Getting ready to roll
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Sherry: Getting ready to roll

Hi y’all! My name is Sherry Zimmerman from Bishop, Texas. I am co-owner of Zimmerman Farms. I have been farming and custom harvesting with my husband Brian for over 20 years. He is a fourth-generation farmer and harvester. We have four kids: Wailynn and Wyatt, who are 14 years old and identical twins; Wesson is 12; and Whitleigh is 10. We are our harvest crew with the help of a few family members, too.

We run combines and cotton pickers. We begin our combine harvest with wheat around mid-May in Texas and Oklahoma, and normally have that wrapped up in mid-July. We then head back to Texas to harvest our milo and corn crop. We always hope to have few days off after combine harvest to get our cotton pickers ready to roll, literally. However, this never happens. The kids and I run combines while Brian gets the cotton pickers ready.

We have not begun our cotton harvest yet but look forward to beginning in the next week or so. We run three John Deere 7760s and one CP690, all are cotton pickers-balers. Getting these pickers ready is not an easy task, so once the kids and I are finished combining, we join him in working on the pickers. We change about 7,200 spindles, 2,160 moisture pads, and 960 doffer pads—and these are the easier jobs. We are currently in the middle of replacing a turbo on one of our pickers. It has been challenging, from removing the turbo, to finding one in the United States, apparently there was only two, to trying to get the new one back in its place, we havetwisted off more bolts than expected and it has turned into a more difficult job than expected. However, we don’t quit, we push through the challenges because nothing compares to harvest time, especially cotton harvest. One of our favorite times of the year. Nothing else smells like picker grease and cotton.

Now, let’s talk little bit about cotton. Cotton in our area is planted early March and can be harvested as early as July or as late as October. However, this year in our area that is not the case, we suffered a severe drought and lost all of our cotton. Although this was the situation at home, we are thankful for our farmers further north of us that were able to produce a crop.

Cotton is a flowering plant. Its growing season is approximately 150 to 200 days. It is a beautiful plant to watch grow. Cotton is a fiber and is used for many, many things from money to baseballs, medical supplies to animal feed, rope to cooking oil and thousands of other items.We use baler cotton pickers to harvest cotton. They roll an 8-foot by 8-foot round bale of cotton, which is then covered with plastic wrap. The bale weighs about 5,000 pounds and consists of cotton, seed, and gin trash (minimal stalks, burrs and leaves). The bale will contain about 2,000 pounds of cotton and 3,000 pounds of gin trash. These bales are stacked in a row of four to eight, left at the edge of the field to be loaded in a module truck or on a semi-trailer, and hauled to the cotton gin. Sorry, y’all … the cotton gin is not an alcoholic beverage. Ha Ha! The cotton gin is where the cotton gets ginned. The cotton goes through the machine that separates the fibers from the seed and the gin trash. After this process you are left with a ginned cotton bale. Cotton is measured by lint pounds. Five hundred lint pounds makes up ginned bale of cotton. Hopefully next time we visit, we will be rolling up some cotton. We are excited to share this year’s cotton harvest with each of you. And look forward to answering any questions y’all may have about cotton harvest.

Sherry Zimmerman can be reached at

All Aboard Fall Harvest is brought to you by Unverferth Mfg. Co. Inc., ITC Great Plains, Pivot Bio, U.S. Custom Harvesters, T-L Irrigation, Titan Machinery, and High Plains Journal.

Sometimes you just need smaller hands. That’s where Wesson comes in.

  • Tom Stegmeier
    Posted at 20:29h, 28 September

    Welcome to the AAWH fall run Sherry !! Sure nice to have a cotton farmer on board , as for me I’am an ex Alberta 3rd generation grain farmer. back in 2005 worked on a acre cotton & wheat farm in NSW .their cotton was all slope/siphoned irrigated ,lots of work . was lucky worked on the wheat side . Work smart ,Work safe !!

  • Jim Scott, lll
    Posted at 15:14h, 29 September

    good to finally get a cotton picker in this bunch, you are right about the smell of picking cotton i love it! i look forward to reading your posts “cotton is King in South Carolina”

  • Colene Solomon
    Posted at 12:38h, 01 October

    Sherry! I am so proud of you and this new adventure! What a great resource to educate us non farmers and chronicle all of the memories and hard work each of you do all year long from Brian, you, Wailynn, Wyatt, Wesson and Whitleigh. May the good Lord continue to watch over you and all our farmers who make the world go round with blood sweat and tears. Z6 por vida!

  • Hadley Annabell
    Posted at 17:09h, 01 October

    What an awesome family! You’re teaching your kids valuable lessons about family and work ethic while contributing to people’s daily lives by giving us cotton! I know how hard you all work! So proud of all of you!

  • Gloria Allison
    Posted at 20:27h, 04 October

    Great write up Sherry!! I’m thrilled that we were able to meet you and your family in Amarillo at the Harvesters Convention. Keep up the great work of writing informative articles and working as a family and look forward to seeing you again in the future.