Harvesting Cotton and Cotton Yield per Acre
5,5 to 6,5 months after sowing, cotton is normally ready to be harvested. As it happens in any other crop, knowing exactly which day to harvest requires years of experience. We harvest during autumn (September – October in most areas of US) with cotton harvesting machines. These machines are typically very big tractors that strip the fibers from the plants and collect the bolls. Immediately after the harvest, it is good to destroy the remaining of cotton plants with a shredder and then make a very good plowing of our field.
On average, we can harvest from 2 to 4 tons (4400 to 8800 lbs.) of cotton per hectare, or 0,8 to 1,6 tons (1760 to 3527 lbs.) per acre. Keep in mind that 1 ton = 1000 kg = 2.200 lbs. and 1 hectare = 2,47 acres = 10.000 square meters. What we harvest from the field is called unginned cotton and it does not represent a traded product. We have to give cotton to a cotton ginner, which is a machine that quickly and easily separates cotton fibers from their seeds and other objects. It is estimated that 1 lb. of unginned cotton contains 32-33% cotton fibers, 52-54% cotton seeds and around 15% foreign objects (stones, leaves, dirt etc.). However, there can be significant deviations from these figures.
Thus, the expected yield of ginned cotton is 0,66 to 1,33 tons (1455 to 2932 lbs.) per hectare or 589 to 1187 lbs. per acre. Keep in mind that there can be significant deviations from these figures.
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8.) Cotton Harvest & Yields
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