The gins are running across Kansas as cotton harvest 2019 gets off to a faster start than the long, slow harvest and ginning season for the 2018 crop. Ginning season at both Anthony, Kan., and Winfield, Kan., was delayed last year because of extensive remodeling work at both gins.
“We’re really getting up to speed,” says Gary Feist, general manager of the Southern Kansas Cotton Growers Cooperative, which operates gins at Winfield and Anthony. “We haven’t gone to 24 hours a day yet because we don’t have the volume yet. But after the hard freeze, we’ll see the strippers heading into the fields. With sunny weather in the forecast, it will dry out fast.”
The Northwest Cotton Growers gin at Moscow, Kan., which has a new gin under construction, had started ginning with the old gin by Halloween, while The Next GINeration gin at Cullison, Kan., was “close to ready, but not running yet” by the end of October.
At Anthony, the growing pains of last year’s remodeling have eased, and all five gin stands have been running full speed with big round bales moving 20 deep down the revamped table system. With the new, automated strapping system in place on the press, cotton bales were rolling onto the bagger at the rate of 50 bales an hour.
The gin at Winfield, which also did extensive renovations last year, has three gin stands and is also gearing up toward ginning 24 hours a day as the modules and bales roll in.
So far, the cotton is looking “really, really pretty,” according to SKCGC crop consultant Rex Friesen. He says the yields have been good, with some dryland fields coming in at 2.5 bales per acre on dryland.
He says there are fields that are not as good, thanks to late planting and a very wet start to the season. Some fields that were planted were later flooded out, resulting in fewer acres planted than predicted. Some late-planted fields were hit with frost before all the bolls were fully mature, which will cost some yield as well.