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Sherry: Moving machines

I was loosening the chain boomer to unchain the machine. Wailynn joined me for a photo op. (Photo courtsey: Michelle Miller aka Farm Babe.)

Southeast Texas—Hi y’all. We began the week with moving the rest of our cotton pickers from central Texas to southeast Texas. We hauled our pickers early in the morning, arrived to the drop off location, then unloaded the machine, next drive back to central Texas, and then load the next machine for the next days haul. We did this for three days straight. Each haul had its own difficulties: the cotton pickers not running—making it difficult to load, flat tires on the semi, and getting hit by heavy rain. 

Even though we experienced these challenges, we are thankful that each haul was a safe haul for us, as well as all the vehicles we came across while traveling.

Trying to get through town in Brenham, Texas. (Photo by Wyatt Zimmerman.)

The Farm Babe was with us for a couple of hauls. She was with Brian hauling the cotton picker for the first haul. Then she joined me as lead escort for the second haul. On her haul with me, we got shut down due to heavy rain. We ran in to a convenience store for snacks. She got herself a Texas lottery ticket and won $100.

Michelle Miller with her Texas lottery cash.

Fun is over, now back to work. Once we had all the equipment back together we had to perform some maintenance on the machines. A few of the things we did were grind doffers, change out spindles, replace moisture pads and moisture columns. These are the easy things. One of the cotton pickers had row unit that needed to be changed out. Number 5 row unit had a part break internally and would take too long to fix it, the quick fix is to replace the row unit. Thankfully, we travel with a couple rebuilt row units, which makes it easier for us to change out and get back to picking. Fortunately this is not a common occurrence and thank goodness because a single row unit is about $50,000.

Brian using the crane on the service truck to remove the row unit from the cotton picker. Each row unit weighs about 2,000 pounds.

After we performed the maintenance and changed the row unit we sent Wailynn and Wyatt to get water for the cotton pickers, then they pumped the water into all four machines. They then filled all four machines up with diesel. They were pooped out and decided to lay down. Wyatt in the baler belts in the cotton picker and Wailynn in the shade, on the ground.

We drove the machines to the field. They are ready to roll. The pickers are changing from transport mode to picking mode. This field picked about a bale an acre. We did not get to pick too much because we had to get all the kinks out of the machines since they had been sitting for a year. The weather was great for two days and then here came the storms. We have several more acres to pick, so we will be back next time with more picking.

Sherry Zimmerman can be reached at sherry@allaboardharvest.com.

Thank you to our 2023 All Aboard Fall Harvest sponsors: High Plains Journal, Unverferth Manufacturing Co., Inc., Pivot Bio, T-L Irrigation, ITC Holdings, Corp., Trail King, and U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc. 

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