Major Cyclone Delivers Efficiency Gains for Cotton Grower
Sam Stanley purchased a Major Cyclone Rotary Cutter to chop cotton stalks on his 2,350-acre farm outside Levelland, Texas. The 30-ft Cyclone covers 10 rows in one pass, giving him 20% more coverage in one day with one less tractor and driver for immediate savings on his operation.
Texas cotton producer Sam Stanley approaches farming with keen calculation. Being inefficient is not an option in a region where water is a limited natural resource and Mother Nature’s hands often deliver stalk-stripping winds and hail that tests the patience of anyone making a living off the land.
He manages a multi-generational farm outside Levelland, Texas and loves kicking the tires on new farming technologies. However, he is careful to always adhere to his own advice which he often offers younger farmers.
“Look at what you’re doing on your operation every year, and then ask yourself if you’re doing it because it is better, or because that’s just the way you’ve always done it,” says Stanley. “That’s what led me to zero till. I haven’t plowed any fields on my farms in 14 years.”
No till operation requires precision
Stanley experimented with various forms of minimum tillage but after installing sub-surface drip irrigation tape across 2,350-acres in 2003, plowing became a thing of the past because the disturbed soil was preventing water from reaching up to the plant’s root zone.
“I switched from 40-inch to 30-inch row spacing. Now my rows are five inches closer to the tape, so I lose no irrigation water to evaporation, so I feel like I’m turning every drop of water into profit-making yield.”
New equipment must improve operations, Major Cyclone does that, and more
Stanley adheres to a defined thought process before making any equipment purchase.
“I always want to know if it’s going to make me more productive or lower my input costs, and if so, how much,” said Stanley. I also try to pencil out how long it will take me to recover that capital expense.”
“I try to spend money on purchasing new equipment rather than repairing old,” said Stanley. “That’s been my philosophy for a long time. On average, it helps me eliminate production downtime. Few things are more frustrating than standing idle in a field with a broken piece of equipment.”
“Anything I decide to purchase has got to improve, add value to or lower my operational costs before I get excited about it. The MJ30-920 Cyclone did all three.”
Rotary cutters have been a staple piece of equipment on the family farm, but just prior to the 2020 season, Stanley’s dealer, Hurst Farm Supply (now South Plains Implement), received a new rotary cutter that caught his attention.
“A friend of mine who farms just east of Lubbock bought one and ran it over several of his acres after harvest. I paid him a visit, watched it operate and was impressed,” said Stanley. “As I mentioned, anything I decide to purchase has got to improve, add value to or lower my operational costs before I get excited about it. The MJ30-920 Cyclone did all three.”
3-pt mounted, beltless, folding crop shredder in 30-ft width
The Cyclone Stanley selected cuts a 30-foot wide swath, allowing him to take down ten rows with each pass. As little as 180hp is required to power 40 mulching blades on 10 rotors spaced 2 ¼ feet apart to ensure all material is mulched and evenly spread with no windrows. The cutting head has four blades per rotor for powerful blender-style shredding. Gearbox driveline means less power consumption is required, as much as 50% fuel savings up front, compared to similar-sized flail shredders.
Made of 8-gauge Strenx® 700 steel and galvanized, the Cyclone cutter is impact tough. Wings hydraulically fold up to 13’9’’ width for safe and visible road transport.
“It speeds up the process of stalk cutting tremendously,” said Stanley. “I immediately saw savings from a reduction in fuel use and fewer hours on my tractor. I can cover 20% more acreage in one day with one less tractor and driver. That’s a clear economic savings.”
Even spread of residue solves wind erosion, reduces evaporation
One of those advantages Stanley also spotted quickly is the consistent mulch pattern the Cyclone leaves behind. The wind erosion problems with which Stanley has to deal, are somewhat mitigated by the even spread of organic matter left on the topsoil.
“There were no piles on one row or bare spots on the next,” said Stanley. “The residue coverage was very uniform. It’s a big improvement over the cutter I was using previously.”
Between the on-board module harvesters which most farmers call “bailer pickers” and the recently-purchased Cyclone rotary cutter, Stanley feels like he has those two aspects of his operation about as efficient as he can get it.
“There’s always something on the horizon,” said Stanley. With new farming technologies appearing, this astute businessman is constantly looking towards the future. The Major Cyclone will ensure his family’s prospects will remain bright.
This story appeared in No Till Farmer on February 13, 2023.