Cotton Season

By Kate Gaier
5:00 pm, October 9, 2006

Some farmers are getting an earlier start then usual. Drought-like conditions don't always make for the most profitable year.

"Cotton can only stand temperatures up to about mid-90s. After that it really takes a toll on it."

That's what Boston Gin Company owner Josh Herring says, and with a summer that was full of dry, hot days, farmers are feeling the heat as cotton picking season begins.

"We're looking at some growers that are making 400 to 500 pounds of cotton, where in the last couple years they've been making 800 to 1,000 pounds cotton, so dry weather has hurt us some this year," Herring added.

Even though this cotton season may not produce like last year’s, rows and rows of it are still waiting to be picked.

First the cotton must be picked, then it goes through several steps before becoming the t-shirt on your back.

After picking, farmers use machines to pack the cotton in modules. Then it's sent to a gin where the seeds are taken out. The cotton is cleaned and tightly packed into 500 pound bushels to await shipping.

"Some of it will be shipped within two to three weeks; some of it will be six months."

Herring says the cotton must first be classified before it is sold. Cotton that is lower in quality is used in making every day products like cotton balls and Q-tips.