Local innovation mechanizes cotton picking in Xinjiang


Cotton picking in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region has been mechanized with a local company devising a "popular" cotton picker.

Yuan Wei, manager of the Xinjiang branch of the China Railway Construction Heavy Industry Corporation in Urumqi, said the machine the company devised in 2018 has proved to improve efficiency and reduce farming costs.

"One machine can carry the workload of more than 1,200 workers over equal periods of time," he said.

The owners can not only pick cotton by machine by themselves but also rent their pickers to others.

"Renting a machine to pick one mu (0.067 hectare) costs about 200 yuan ($31), much cheaper than 1,000 yuan of hiring workers. At the beginning, I was worried about users' feedback but after three years, it has turned out to be popular," he said, adding they usually can recover their costs on the machine within about three years.

The company trains drivers to operate the machine who will then be hired by the machine renter during harvest seasons.

"It is comfortable to drive the machine. Sufficient engine power can get me through muddy roads easily. Light system help me avoid obstacles during the night work," Su Zhenrui, a driver said.

The picker achieved harvesting about 93 percent of the cotton in a certain field to avoid too much waste and the technicians stand by 24 hours to provide maintenance.

Through a mobile phone application connected to the machine, farmers can monitor the picking process and amount, the company said.

"Farmers can know how much they could earn from the harvest while sitting at home watching the machine operating," Yuan said.

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