MARKED TREE, AR--"It's not just a cotton picker, it is a revolution in the cotton harvesting industry." Scott Colbert of Valley Equipment in Marked Tree is talking about Case IH's 625 Module Express. This harvester has shaken up the cotton industry.
"It not only picks cotton, but it also packs the cotton into modules. It's boll to module in one pass. You're eliminating two tractors, a boll buggy and a module builder. One machine and one operator. You go to the field, pick your cotton and make your module," so says Bill Barnhill, also of Valley Equipment.
You've probably seen modules out in the fields. They pick them up and drive them to the gin. Modules made by this new picker will be about half as big - and the gin won't need any extra equipment. The 625 Cotton Module Express eliminates about five pieces of equipment by combining years of testing and revolutionary innovation.
The prototype was developed in 1997 and has been undergoing intense testing for at least the past five years. And now it's ready to go to the field.
The local farming community has been a-buzz about the latest cotton picker, many sneaking a peek when they can. "People do stop by here after hours and look at the machine, walk around it, and then make comments about it when they come in the store," says Colbert.
It's not just the size that attracts attention to this inventive machine. It's the only machine of its type to be released to the public. And because of that, Case has sent competitors scrambling to help the American farmer develop ways to cut costs and survive in an industry that can be tough.
"The American farmer has survived because they can make higher yields with less inputs and this machine will help them do that very thing," says Barnhill.