Seed Cotton Handling Storage
Case IH Half-Length Modules
Forming and Staging
The Case IH Module Express cotton picker automatically forms the half-length modules with minimal action on the part of the operator. The operator’s manual provided by the manufacturer provides guidance on the operation of the module forming system. Each operator should read, understand and follow those instructions.
Unloading the Module
The primary activity for the operator regarding the module is to decide when to unload it. The instrument console provides an indicator of the size of the module being formed as a percentage of the recommended size. In most cases, the module size will not be 100 percent of recommended size as the picker reaches the turn row. For this reason, the operator must decide to unload a less than full-sized module, or to continue picking and have to deadhead back to the turn row when the module is complete. These decisions can have a significant influence on the operating efficiency of the harvester. For more information on unloading half-size modules, see “The Spindle Type Cotton Harvester” publication.
Staging Two Modules Together
When the modules are unloaded, typically on a turn-row, they must be staged properly so that they can be picked up by a module truck. While some operators have tried to stage two modules together, this often means driving to the location of a previously unloaded module. Staging together is not a requirement, as module truck drivers can pick up a single half-length module, drive to the next module and pick it up as well. These separate actions require a higher level of skill on the part of the module truck driver, and so problems with module damage can occur with inexperienced drivers. The following practices are recommended when unloading and preparing modules for transport:
- Modules should be unloaded from the harvester only in well-drained areas of bare soil, such as turn-rows. Avoid placing the module on cotton stalks or grassy areas to minimize contamination that might be picked up with the module by the truck. If possible, avoid areas where the module truck cannot access the modules if rain occurs.
- When unloading modules from the Case IH cotton picker, avoid overhead obstructions that might be contacted when the chamber is raised. If cover crews or other workers are in the area, make sure all personnel are in view or someone signals “all clear” before unloading the module. This is especially true when staging a second module near another.
- If staging modules together for pickup by a module truck, allow 12-18 inches between modules. If closer, the angle of the second module coming down the unloading ramp will push the first module out of shape and possibly knock cotton onto the ground. Figure 14 shows a module unloaded too close to another module. Module staged together must also be closely aligned to allow the truck to pick up both in a single loading action.
- When cotton falls from the top of the module during unloading, it should be picked up and thrown on top of the module prior to covering, not stuffed between the modules. While this loose cotton between the modules will be picked up by the module truck, it will not be protected by the module cover during storage and any rainfall will cause it to become a wet mass that contacts both modules.
Covering Half-Length Modules
The half-length modules require a 16-footlong cover similar to conventional covers in manufacture. Multiple manufacturers offer 16-foot-long covers, and the considerations for selection between those offerings are similar to those of conventional module covers. Some individuals have tried to place two 16-foot modules end to end and use a 32-foot cover over both, but this practice is discouraged, as it often will tear the large cover when the two modules shift independently.
Installing Half-Length Module Covers
The practices used for installing conventional covers are also appropriate for the half-length modules. Because of the smaller size, and often shorter modules, half-length covers are easier to apply. Because of the auger mechanism used in the compression chamber of the Module Express picker, the half-length modules have a tendency to have depressions along the length of the module that can collect water during storage. To minimize the potential for water collection, it is important to pull the cover down over the module as much as possible. A loose top surface is more likely to collect water that could potentially penetrate into the seed cotton.