Monday, November 3, 2014

Cotton Growers Speed Up Harvest to Beat the Rain



 Last week, we talked about rain and the cotton harvest in the San Joaquin Valley. Well a strange thing happened during this unprecedented drought year: Rain.

Grower Doug Goodman operates his John Deere harvester.
In fact, local communities reported a nice amount of wet stuff over the weekend, starting with Halloween night. The Fresno area, for example, received two-tenths of an inch of wet stuff late Friday into early Saturday, the National Weather Service reports.

With the storm looming, farmers ran cotton harvests virtually around the clock last week to pick as much cotton as possible ahead of the rain.
 
Goodman unloads a round module of freshly picked cotton.
“We’re expecting rain (Friday). The big rush to harvest the cotton before the rain is because of quality issues,” says farmer Doug Goodman, who was running a large green John Deere cotton picker in the Firebaugh area. He explains soggy fiber can change color when mixed with leaves and other trash collected by the picker and then compressed into a module. The result is a lower grade on the quality report card from the cotton gin.

Tag to track the round module.
 “We have another thousand acres to go. It is really important to get the cotton out when the weather is good,” Doug says.

About eight tenths of  of an inch of rain fell over the weekend in the Valley, surpassing the six-month total amount of rain the region received from May 1 to October 3. This certainly shows you how fickle farming can be.

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