This weekend we celebrate Cotton Harvest with a festival in the town square. I’m excited because I’ve never attended; in honor of all their hard work I thought it would be fun to share the behind scenes of farming and harvesting cotton.
We’re in Delta County and this time of year farmers are busy harvesting their crops. Our land is located near many of these fields and it’s inspiring to witness the activity. I’m no cotton expert but I’ve learned a few things you may find interesting.
The key ingredient for growing cotton is black soil, it contains rocks or sediment consisting of or containing clay. This soil is a fine grain and it’s very high in nutrients.
- High proportions of calcium and magnesium.
- Contains an abundant of iron
- Pretty high quantities of lime, magnesia and alumina
Our area is referred to as Blackland Prairies bordering north of Red River and stretching far south towards San Antonio. Texas has a total of 9 cotton regions and they can be found here.
Years ago, I remember driving through the panhandle seeing hundreds if not thousands of cotton farms. I had to pull off the side of the road because all that white was giving me a headache. Now when I see cotton fields I’m energized and thankful…
The opportunity to witness the process is a reminder that somebody farmed every piece of cotton I’ve ever come in contact with. It’s easy to forget the clothing we wear, the towels we dry off with, and the blankets that help us stay warm have a key ingredient in common, cotton…
Working at Capacity
The Farmer’s around here are always working at a capacity most folks could never compete with. I have such respect for their work ethic, dedication and commitment as they travel from one field to another.
During the latter part of September most of the fields near our property were harvested. It was quite the event and when they brought in the night lights Robert mentioned, the job isn’t done until all that cotton is picked at once.
John Deer Cotton pickers were brought in and the cotton is processed into very large rolls, similar to hay rolls.
After the Field is Harvested
After the field is harvested a tractor comes behind the cotton picker and cleans up what’s left behind, basically cuts and tills the entire field. These trackers also move the rolls towards the edge of the field; the process is repeated until finished.
There is no, “I’ll take care of it tomorrow” it’s now or never….
These fields inspire purpose, they’re either getting ready for planting, maturing for harvest or sitting empty till the next planting. This is what I call moving forward and I love that. People are doing something with the land they’ve been blessed with.
Rolls of Cotton
Harvested cotton rolls are stored towards the edge of the field until they’re ready to sell. It seems like most farmers around here harvest cotton in rolls; we’ve seen a few others that use squares. I’m not sure what the difference is but maybe one day I’ll have the opportunity to interview a cotton farmer to find out.
Robert thought it would be neat for me to show y’all the roll size so I trespassed for this photo. I’m 5’4 and let’s just say that’s one large roll of cotton.
Inside the Roll
This is a close up inside the roll, it’s packed tight and dirt surrounds the cotton in addition to lots of seeds. Wouldn’t it be neat to see the cleaning process? It reminded of our sheep fiber after sheering season, full of dirt and seed from the fields until we started washing it.
Each roll can weigh up to 5.000 pounds, multiply that by thirty or more rolls per field… That’s a lot of cotton!
Can’t forget the Cotton Helpers
You just can’t forget about the cotton helpers. In our area bee boxes are set up to help pollinate all this activity. This makes me smile every time I drive by because the farmers here know that working the land goes beyond planting a seed.
Hope you enjoyed this little introduction to cotton farming and who knows maybe that cotton shirt you’re wearing came from a field in Delta County, Texas.