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Ginning Up Support

Funston Gin donation to SIRPUGA Tifton campus and UGA C.M. Stripling Irrigation Research Park (SIRP) personnel thank Tom Stallings (second from right), owner of Funston Gin, for donating a module builder (left) and boll buggy (right) to the park. Pictured are (left to right) SIRP personnel Ivey Griner, Superintendent Calvin Perry, Assistant Dean of UGA-Tifton Joe West, Stallings and B.J. Johnson. Photo by Candace Gray

Cotton harvesting just got a bit more efficient at the University of Georgia’s C.M. Stripling Irrigation Research Park (SIRP).

Funston Gin, out of Funston, Georgia, donated a cotton module builder and cotton boll buggy, valued at $25,000, last harvest season to help the park harvest its cotton plots in the fall. SIRP Superintendent Calvin Perry said the module builder and boll buggy are welcome additions to the park’s inventory.

“We just needed a way to better handle cotton between researchers,” Perry said.

SIRP is devoted to studying the effects of irrigation on crops including cotton, peanuts and corn. Perry said 25 acres went to cotton research last year. Those 25 acres were divided into hundreds of different plots that contained the research of different scientists within the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

In previous years, the park used trailers to transport the harvested cotton, but most current cotton gins are not set up to handle trailers. More modern cotton-handling equipment was required.

Funston Gin has been ginning the park’s cotton for many years, and owner Tom Stallings was eager to aid UGA with its cotton research.

“It’s a great pleasure to be able to help them. I fully intend to solicit my other cotton partners in the ginning industry and production industry to see if we can’t get more money into researching cotton,” Stallings said.

The cotton picker dumps the cotton into the boll buggy trailer after moving through the field. The picked cotton is then transferred into the module builder, a big, rectangular mechanism that presses it into big bundles of cotton. This allows the gin truckers to haul the harvested crop easily from the field.

“If we’re waiting a couple of days for a scientist’s plots to be ready, we can let the cotton sit in that boll buggy for a few days under a shelter without having to put it into a module builder and run the risk of having rain get on it,” Perry said. “It definitely serves our needs quite well.”

By Clint Thompson