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A barn and silo under a blue sky.
  1. Farm efficiency in the United States
  2. Who Farms in the United States?
  3. Growth of Large Corporate Farming
  4. Minorities as Farm Operators
  5. Agricultural Subsidies
  6. Food for Peace Program
  7. Major Crops in the United States
  8. Major U.S. Crops: Corn
  9. Major U.S. Crops: Soybeans
  10. Major U.S. Crops: Wheat
  11. Major U.S. Crops: Cotton
  12. Planting and Harvesting Cotton
  13. Major U.S. Crops: Rice
  14. How Rice Is Grown in the United States
  15. Dairy Farming in the United States
  16. Cheese Production in the United States
  17. Poultry and Meat Production in the United States
  18. Raising Cattle for Beef
  19. Factory Farming
  20. Farm Mechanization in the United States
  21. Biotechnology and Farming in the United States
  22. Organic Farming in the United States
  23. Farm Aid
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A tractor with planting apparatus in a field.
A planter with a row of yellow boxes full of seeds ready to be sown.
Photo Courtesy of The Texas Education Agency.
Planting and Harvesting Cotton
Cotton growing is highly mechanized. To plant the crop, a tractor pulls a planter. On the planter, metal discs under the seed boxes open the ground in rows called furrows. Seeds and a small amount of fertilizer are dropped into the new furrow and are then covered over. Although some cotton fields are still harvested by hand, machines called cotton pickers and cotton stripers do the bulk of the harvesting. The mechanical cotton picker picks the cotton boll from the plant. The mechanical cotton stripper strips the boll and often the leaves from the plant. A stripper can harvest about 500 pounds (227kg) of cotton an hour. By comparison, it would take one man 33 hours to harvest the same amount. Over the last 20 years, both cotton yields and number of acres used for cotton farming have increased. Click on PICTURES below to see a cotton combine. Click on CHARTS below for additional facts about cotton.
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