Case IH has again reset the standards for what's possible in harvesting technology. Cotton producers will have the option of building modules on-board their cotton picker, improving both equipment and labor efficiencies, thanks to the latest evolution from harvesting industry leader Case IH.

"Case IH cotton pickers already can pick more cotton with our two-sided picking system, and we want to make customers even more productive by streamlining the module building process," says Trent Haggard, director of Case IH global marketing for the cotton industry. The Case IH Module Express 625 is the first commercial cotton picker with the ability to build modules while harvesting.

Growers and gins emphasized the importance of the modules working within existing systems to maximize productivity, and the 8-foot tall by 8-foot wide by 16-foot long "half" modules require no modifications to existing systems, Haggard notes.

The module-building feature attracts attention, but this machine is the total package, Haggard says "It has the power to handle picking in the toughest conditions, the productivity of our proven two-sided picking design, monitors providing total systems overviews from spindles to module builder, and matched tank capacities to handle long 14-hour harvest days." This is the most efficient cotton-harvesting package available.

"The Case IH Module Express design started as a collaboration with growers and ginners - a lot of people in the industry have contributed to the development of this machine," Haggard says. "We've changed for the better the way cotton will be handled from picker to gin."

Reduce labor and equipment

"The first question I'm always asked is 'Can I get rid of my boll buggy and separate module builder?" Haggard says. "With the Case IH Module Express 625 picker, it's one man, one machine for cotton harvest and module building, so you reduce your equipment and labor investment dramatically."

The cotton is picked at the same pace as a traditional 6-row picker, but with the Module Express design modules form simultaneously It takes less time to unload a 10,000-pound module than to empty 10,000 pounds of cotton from a traditional basket. "It's an extremely efficient process," Haggard says.

Gin friendly

Another common question relates to ginning. "The modules themselves average 10,000 pounds in an 8-foot by 8-foot by 16-foot format," Haggard says. "As you'll note by the dimensions, the modules are the same height and width but half the length of a standard module, so other than tarps, they require no alterations in the ginning process."

They are purposely sized to maximize gin-feeding rates without adding any contamination. "In the past 30 years we've looked at modules of various shapes and sizes, similar to large hay bales, but they required changes in the handling and ginning infrastructure. These don't," Haggard says.

"During the most recent six years of testing we've successfully run thousands of Case IH modules through gins across the Cotton Belt, from North Carolina through California," Haggard says. "They've been incredibly well-received."

Productive features

Part of the reason for the success at the gin is the consistency of the modules. "The Case IH Module Express 625 features the Automatic Intelligent Auger Packing System, a patented, first in the industry innovation," Haggard says. "Using a system of sensors and augers, cotton is automatically moved as the module is being compressed. The system is fine-tuned to create consistent, domed modules for excellent weatherability and ginning."

The Module Express 625 is equipped to help operators stage modules for efficient loading. Monitors track percent full, module weight and bales per acre to plan drop-off points around the field that are easily accessed by the gin's module trucks.

Power for the unit is supplied by an upsized version of the proven engine featured in the Case IH Cotton Express 620 picker. The new 9.0-liter engine packs 365 horsepower. "It has plenty of muscle to pick, pack and power the Module Express 625," Haggard says. "And, like all Case IH engines, you can use some of your soybean crop to fuel the harvest. We're factory filling these with a B5 biodiesel blend at our Benson, Minn., plant," he notes.

Proven picking efficiency

The focus on productivity extends to the picking design. "Using our patented two-sided picking system means picking from both sides of the row to put more of the cotton into the module. The tougher the conditions the better the two-sided approach works. Field tests prove we can harvest an average of 3.4 percent more of the crop than the competition on the first pass. "You've already grown it, so you might as well get paid for it," Haggard says.

Special attention was paid to make sure the new Module Express pickers are balanced from a weight and floatation standpoint. Like the Cotton Express 620, 500/95-32 duals are used up front, but the rear tires are upgraded to a bigger 23.5-26 tire standard providing a larger footprint.

"Our longer chassis also contributes to balance, and combined with an engine with plenty of power and a three-speed hydrostatic transmission that's all-wheel-drive all the time, you get a great mudder," Haggard says. "You're not going to be dragging your rear axle around."

Like our newest Cotton Express designs, easy serviceability is built-in. With the touch of a button you can hydraulically spread any picking drum for service. All the components are very easy to inspect and keep properly maintained.

"During harvest, time is critical, so the Module Express features water, lube and fuel tank capacities to accommodate 14-hour harvest days. And, when moving from field to field the Module Express 625 will convert to and from transport mode in less than 10 minutes," Haggard says.

Case IH has taken the most efficient design on the market to the next level with on-board module building technology in the Module Express 625 cotton picker. "We're delighted and proud to again be a pioneer in the industry," Haggard adds. "It's absolutely in keeping with our heritage that we were able to make this contribution. We designed and manufactured the first mechanized cotton harvester in 1943, and our goal always has been to enhance the profitability of cotton farmers' and custom harvesters' operations."

Case IH is a global leader in agricultural equipment. With headquarters in the United States, Case IH has a network of dealers and distributors that operates in over 160 countries. Case IH provides agricultural equipment systems, flexible financial service offerings and parts and service support for professional farming operations through a dedicated network of professional dealers and distributors. Productivity enhancing products include tractors; combines and harvesters; hay and forage equipment; tillage tools; planting and seeding systems; sprayers and applicators; and site-specific farming tools.