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Gin Breaks Record

Records are meant to be broken and this record really needed to go. The goal was to break 35,422 bales ginned in a season. That mark was set in the year 2000, or Y2K if your memory allows you to go back that far. Yes, the same Y2K that terrorized the country at the turn of the century. Well Y2K is gone and so is the record. The new standard is 36,353 bales. No sophomore jinx for Duncan Welch. The second-year manager of the Friona Farmers Co-Op is already looking forward to breaking the record again.

The season started October 25, 2017 when a module was brought in for John Jarecki. The gin fired up, sometimes literally, on October 26th and three months later the record-breaking bale was loaded up and hauled away. This year marked the first time in decades that James Anthony has not hauled for the gin. Mark Anthony Trucking has assumed the responsibility and the finished bales were transported to the compress in Sudan, Texas. Tony Beauchamp had the last module that was brought in and the gin finished ginning operations on January 25, 2018.

For the season, 4,106 modules were brought to the gin yard. That included the traditional modules, which look like portable storage units, and the round bales that are wrapped in yellow. You might have seen these being hauled through town by trucks carrying about ten bales each. The average module weighs 18,000 pounds and it takes roughly four of the round bales to equal one module. The average module produces around 8 to 10 bales of cotton. By-products of the ginning process are seed and burrs. Seed is sent to the PYCO mill in Lubbock, Texas. Seed and burrs are also hauled to local dairys and feedyards.

Even though it was a record breaking year it still could have been better. Of the 21,000 acres of cotton that were planted around 6,000 acres were lost due to hail and drought. The wet and cool weather in August also hampered plant growth and maturity. Duncan said that the overall quality of the crop for the year would be rated as “poor” in comparison to other years. He also expects that there will be more acres planted in cotton next year.

An unnamed source said that if you lined up all the bales ginned back to back that they would stretch from one end to the other. Go figure.