New to Cotton Farming

| 2/23/2012 11:14:15 AM

cotton gin house 

Since I didn’t grow up around cotton farming, I was late coming to appreciate the industry as a whole, starting with the crop, through the picking and ginning. Spinning is tweaking my interest now.

Four years ago, the Southland Flywheelers Antique Tractor and Engine Club began to plant and harvest crops as part of our Fall Morgan County (Ala.) Fair Show, including peanuts, sorghum, corn and cotton. These were mainly to allow us to show off our antique equipment used for these processes. A corn picker on a Farmall tractor gathered that crop, and a grist mill turned the grain into fine corn meal, which was baked onsite into corn bread. Sorghum cane was stripped, cut, squeezed and then cooked into molasses. Peanuts were dug with a special plow, and then the boiled delicacies were sold to visitors – the only money our club recovered the first year for our show. Cotton was grown so folks could hang on a pick sack and walk down the rows gathering the locks from open bolls.

Then last year we added a plantation sized cotton gin, which I got to run. So now I’ve planted, thinned, picked and ginned the fluffy stuff for the first time in my life. But the bug hasn’t been so easy to tame. I’ve been touring all of our local commercial cotton gins to see how the big guys do it.

cotton gin 

Our club acquired an ancient 1850s era plantation-sized gin that caught my imagination, and I brought it home to attempt restoration. An extensive article has been submitted to Farm Collector magazine describing this long and fascinating project, which is now coming to a (hopefully) successful fruition – ginning cotton with it at our first show this spring.


Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

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