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Sherry: Harvest is complete

Hi y’all. Hope y’all are well. So we were stagnant for a few weeks. We have had several amounts of rain.  We just can not catch a break. So far this fall harvest is a repeat of our summer harvest, the weather is not cooperating. We have had a lot of time to work on our equipment because there is not else we can do. We welcomed the time to work on our equipment because we have had two cotton pickers throwing random codes, not running at full capacity, and shutting themselves down. This seems to always happen to us after rain showers. These cotton pickers and rain do not mix well. We had one machine that had an engine control unit go out. That took a bit to diagnose, but once we did, we got it replaced, reprogrammed, and then it was up and running.

We had another visit from Michelle Miller, who is also known as the Farm Babe. The ground was still wet when she was with us, again, and the cotton crop had greened up, due to all the rain. However we were able to find a small patch of cotton that we could get into to pick. The cotton was about half a bale to the acre which is not good in the cotton world. We harvest for an organization that processes and uses their own cotton, so they say harvest, we harvest it.

Rain has finally quit. Even though the rain had quit, we still had to wait on the cotton crop to drop it leaves, again. When it rains a significant amount the cotton plant will re grow. And if it has regrowth, it usually gets another shot of Dropp via crop duster. Dropp is a harvest aid to help increase the rate of leaf loss. Cotton plants with less leaves is better to harvest. So once the Dropp was applied we had to wait 7 to 10 more days.

Finally our waiting time is over. We had a a little over 1,000 acres left to harvest. Once we were able to get in the field to pick we finished in four days. In the course of the few days that we were picking we had a big scare. One of our cotton pickers caught fire. Our 15-year-old Wyatt was operating this machine. He had no idea he was smoking, he was picking in to the wind. His twin brother, Wailynn operates another one of our pickers and when he turned around to pick the next six rows heading the same direction as Wyatt, he came over the radio to tell Wyatt he was on fire. We also heard him on the radio. Everything happened so quickly after that. We are so proud of these two boys. They responded so quickly to this situation. They were both on top of the accumulator with five fire extinguishers trying their hardest to put the fire out. We got there with water tanks to hose the cotton down. It took a few hours to get all the smoldering cotton out of the accumulator, clean out the machine, then wrap the cotton bale that was in the baler. We were successful at saving the machine. It was a little damaged, but nothing we can not fix or replace easily.

Wailynn and Wyatt on top of the accumulator with their fire extinguishers trying to get the fire out.

During that four days I was moving the cotton bales, our No. 3 son, Wesson, whom is our original bale mover decided mom needed to move bales, so I did. We stack the bales by eights. We do this to make it easier for us to load and haul the cotton bales, since our trailer hauls eight at a time.

I’m in the tractor moving bales.

It definitely is bitter sweet. We wrapped up the 2023 cotton harvest season pretty quickly, once we were able to get to it. Our seasons usually rolls into the following year and this one finished before the end of October. We are still hauling bales, though, which has also become long and drawn out due to weather.

We hope y’all had a Happy Thanksgiving. And we wish y’all a very Merry Christmas and wonderful New Year. We will see y’all next All Aboard Fall Harvest.

Working on getting the fire out.
Brian with another extinguisher.
They’re cleaning out the accumulator.
The cotton bale that was in the baler when the accumulator caught fire. This bale will be placed away from all things flammable.
Wyatt is cleaning his cotton pickers row units.
Wailynn is cleaning his cotton pickers row units.
Brian is cleaning his some row units, too.
Wyatt and Wailynn are blowing themselves off after servicing the cotton pickers.
Ready to haul. (Photo by Wyatt Zimmerman.)

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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