Cotton ginning in full swing - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Cotton ginning in full swing

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By Cade Fowler - bio | email

DOERUN, GA (WALB) – Most of south Georgia's cotton crop is out of the fields now. That means many cotton gins are running 24-hours a day to get the product ready to ship.

This time of year Mobley Gin Company never sleeps. The noise is constant at the Doerun plant where the cylinders turn ginning the cotton crop which finds its way from the fields to the conveyer belt.

"We try to gin as fast as we can and the best we can. Around here it's all about quality, not quantity, but quality," said plant superintendent Lupe Alonzo.

Dry weather resulted in a less than stellar crop, but a high worldwide demand sent prices up in the marketplace.

"We've got 7 trucks running during the day and 7 trucks going out. I'm seeing a lot of cotton moved out right now. So there's a lot of farmers anxious to get their cotton ginned so we just try to keep it going," said Alonzo.

What's different this year is a new piece of a machinery at Mobley. Many of the bails coming off the truck are round instead of square. It's a harvesting technique from the field that cuts down on cost and labor.

'If it's a big enough operation, he can get one of these round bails. You don't have to worry about module builders or tarps. Help is getting harder and harder to find so it's just one man and one picker," said Alonzo.

No matter the bail's shape - the operation here remains the same - separating the seed and debris. By all accounts the cotton is coming out clean which should come as good news for investors and farmers alike as the harvesting season winds down.

"I would say it will last another 4 or 5 weeks depending on how much cotton is still out the fields. There still some counties out there still picking," said Alonzo.

From here the cotton Is off to inventory and the eyes are no longer on the sky and the field, but the commodities market where trade determines just how good king cotton will fair this year and in the future.

According the USDA, nearly 80% of the nation's cotton crop has been harvested.

Last week the price per pound of cotton reached a record high of $1.51 on the futures market. While it has dropped considerably since then, some forecasters predict exports to remain strong.

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