It’s faster. It’s safer. It’s more comfortable to operate.
As Allen Below sees it, those are the key improvements to John Deere’s new CP770 Cotton Picker.
“It’s definitely faster. The picking speed is a bit faster, as well as the turnaround time on clean up. It has features that make it safer and easier to service. And the cab is a big improvement,” said Below who along with his partners, Justin and Austin Littleton, farms 10,000 acres in southeastern Missouri. This year, they planted about 6,000 acres of cotton.
Below was one of 25 growers using the CP770 during the 2021 harvest season. Cotton picking was going at full speed when we visited his farm in October. The brand-new CP770 had already harvested around 800 acres, giving Below and picker operator Josh Morgan time to evaluate the machine and share their insights.
John Deere has touted the CP770 and the CS770 Cotton Stripper as their most productive harvesters ever, and an ideal investment for large farmers who need to harvest the maximum number of acres per hour possible.
“It’s a big change compared to its predecessor,” Morgan said. “It picks faster and it wraps the bale faster. It can wrap and eject a bale in about 30 seconds.”
The CP770 also boasts improved fuel efficiency.
“With the new John Deere 13.6 L PowerTech engine, this machine is getting up to 20% better fuel economy than the 690 it is replacing,” said Roger Zey, global cotton business manager with John Deere.
Still a 6-row picker, the CP770 features new high-speed row units that Zey said do a better job of harvesting at higher speeds. The new harvester can pick at 4.6 miles per hour, which is a 5% increase in harvesting speed. Transport speed has also increased to up to 20 mph.
The baler on the CP770 is a completely new design. It allows for customers to build a 96-inch module, which is two inches larger than the bales built by its predecessor. While Below is still building 94-inch bales due to concerns with handling and transportation to the gin, the new picker is building a tighter bale.
“No matter what size you’re building, we’re packing 2% more cotton in that bale,” Zey said. By packing more cotton in the bale, growers can save on module wrap and hauling costs.
The extended platform down both sides of the machine is a significant improvement, according to Below and Morgan.
“The platforms down both sides will make cleaning and servicing much easier,” said Below. “You can also change the wrap without getting off the picker. Once we got used to the new method, changing wrap rolls was a bit easier, and there is less room for error.”
“I like the platforms down both sides. The keypad on the platform controls many functions on the machine, such as folding it down, or just daily servicing. Making fewer trips to the ground makes a difference for a machine operator and improves safety,” Morgan adds.
Enhanced technology in the cab allows growers to better document harvesting data.
“There is a pretty big jump in technology in the CP770, and there is a bit of a learning curve,” Below said, “but we’ve enjoyed the new features. This yield monitor is more detailed. You can see more in the cab, and the screen sharing between pickers is nice. That’s a good feature to have if you have a new driver who has an issue — your more experienced driver can help him troubleshoot while continuing to harvest.”
“The cab is a big improvement. I was surprised at that,” Below admits. “I kept saying the cab was fine, but once you get in this new one you appreciate the upgrades. I thought the heated and cooled massaging leather seat was a bit much, but when you think about a guy who’s running that machine for 12 hours or more in a day, every little thing you can do to keep him alert and keep blood flowing is going to help productivity.”
The new cab is more than 30% larger and noticeably quieter.
“The improvements to the cab really stand out,” Morgan added. “The cab is bigger, much quieter and more comfortable. When you’re working long days, comfort is a big issue.”