Moultrie -- Dueling technologies unveiled at the Sunbelt Ag Expo could make harvesting cotton more economical.
In the fields, Case I-H and John Deere are going head to head in a race to give farmers a way to harvest cotton, using less manpower and equipment.
Case I-H's the one in all cotton picker allows farmers to harvest their entire cotton crop with as few as two people.
In the Ag Expo fields their competing side by side, but each promises to make the task of harvesting cotton an easier job. "The diesel that this machine saves is tremendous because those other tractors aren't out there burning that fuel," says Trent Haggard, Case I-H North America Sales Manager.
While the John Deere version uses about 100 more gallons of diesel for the same 12 hour period, their picker can run non-stop. "The big advantage that we bring to the market is no longer do you have to stop to unload the cotton," said Jamie Flood, John Deere Cotton Harvesters Manager.
John Deere's picker claims to better protect the cotton in a round bale maintaining its quality. "With the round shape the protective covering we do offers a covering that's water proof, not just water resistant, and we're also covering the cotton around the whole circumference of that module, so it won't draw moisture from the ground," says Flood.
Gins will have to add equipment to handle the round bales. In Case I-H's case it's ready to go. "No cost needed at the gin, to change anything over its just streamline, seamless," Haggard said.
While both only seem economical for a farmer with more than two thousand acres of cotton, farmers say any relief from labor costs is welcome.
Case I-H began production of their module express last year. There are already five of these machines working fields here in south Georgia.
John Deere is now taking orders for their version which goes into production in January. In either case their both impressive machines, but neither machine is cheap, the price tag on both is over half a million dollars.