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  • Harvesting

    Chapter 2 - Cotton value addition - Impact of varieties and production practices 


    About 70% of the over 100 million bales of cotton produced globally are harvested by hand. Although 40 countries harvest some cotton by machine, only three (the United States, Australia and Israel) harvest 100% by machine. Two types of mechanical harvesting equipment are used to harvest cotton: the spindle picker (see figure 2.1) and the cotton stripper harvester (see figure 2.2). The spindle picker is a selective-type harvester that uses tapered, barbed spindles to remove seed cotton from bolls. The cotton stripper is a nonselective or once-over harvester that removes not only the well-opened bolls but also the cracked and unopened bolls along with the burs and other plant parts. Plant height should not exceed about 1.2 metres (4 feet) for picked cotton and about 0.9 metre (3 feet) for stripped cotton because too much foreign matter will be collected. Typically, spindle and stripper-harvested seed cotton contains about 6% and 30% plant parts, respectively.



    Figure 2.1: Typical spindle-type mechanical harvester for cotton


    Figure 2.2: Typical stripper harvester for cotton