Wet cotton hurting cotton gins - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Wet cotton hurting cotton gins

November 20, 2002

Doerun - While farmers are frustrated by soggy cotton, gin companies are also taking a beating. Production has drastically slowed and companies are expecting to work through the holiday season.

As the cotton takes a beating by rain drops, cotton gins are getting hit hard too. Doerun Gin Company General Manager, Mike Horne, says, "We had a wet season in 1997, but the rains are more frequent this year, three to four days, not giving farmers much time to get back in the field."

Anxious farmers are causing problems at the gin. Horne explains, "You see rains coming and their picking cotton probably before it's ready to be picked."

The wet cotton still has seeds and stems tangled inside, clogging up the gins and slowing down production. Horne says, "It's difficult to separate lent from seed. Seeds are soft they won't go through saws and choke up."

The Doerun Gin Company normally produces one bail per two minutes, now only five to ten bails per hour. Horne says, "Not gonna be a real profitable year for cotton gins in this area."

Gins also have to use more heat to dry cotton, costing more time and money. The heat also damages fiber, making farmers lose money. Gin companies also expect to be ginning later this year, ending in January or February instead of December. Until the weather gets drier, cotton will wait to be picked, gin workers will wait to bail.

Mr. Horne also says newer pickers are partially to blame for getting wet cotton from farmers. The new machines can pick wetter cotton which is good for farmers, but bad for gin companies.

posted at 6:23PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com