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Changes in Cotton Harvesting Over the Years

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Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. In parts of the state where cotton was grown, the fall of the year brought not only color in autumn leaves but also roadsides that were often white with cotton that blew out of the wagons that steadily traveled from the fields to the gins. Farmers had to frequently empty the cotton-picking machines into wire cotton wagons and transport them to the gin, where each one had to be logged in. All day, for several months, this parade of cotton wagons reminded the community of how important cotton was to the local economy. In the early 1970’s, farmers began investing in expensive equipment that could construct rectangular compressed modules, containing six to seven bales worth of cotton, that could stay in the fields until the grower had time to load them on flat beds and take them to be ginned.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.