CROWDER-- When new technology in cotton pickers hit the Sikeston area, Todd Cole, gin manager at the Crowder Gin, knew he needed to keep up with the times.
But when he saw the $300,000 price tag for machinery used to move 5,000-pound bales created with a new John Deere model in the gin, he decided to go against the grain and come up with something on his own.
"I told myself 'there's got to be something simpler and more efficient ,'" Cole said. "Plus, it's going to take several years for all the farmers to make that transition, and we can't afford to spend all that money for just a few farmers."
The John Deere 7760 picker makes the cotton harvest less labor intensive, and periodically discharges the large bales through the field. There were no existing methods or a grappler in place to handle the bales in the field or pick them up off the gin yard and place them on the feeder.
So Cole got the OK from stockholders at the gin to come up with an idea of his own. And then he went to work, putting his idea on plywood. And the Cottonmaster grew from there.
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