Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cotton Pickin' Time in South Georgia

Traveling back from North Carolina we left Interstate 75 and turned off onto Highway 319, which would take us through the back country roads of South Georgia and on into Tallahassee, Florida.

We have made this trip many times at this time of year and always enjoy seeing the beautiful cotton fields all along the way.   On this trip we noticed that most of the cotton  fields had been harvested.  There were a few remaining fields with cotton,  in and around Omega, Norman Park and Moultrie,  but most of the fields had already been picked.

What a pretty sight it was to see the remaining fields where you could see the cotton growing as far as the eye could see.

I have always thought of cotton as a Southern crop.  Mr. Google says cotton grows as far southwest as California, Arizona and New Mexico.  Cotton thrives in the warmer Southern states including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Kansas and Virginia.

Isn't that a pretty sight!

Not too long after making our turn-off from the Interstate we came to the little town of Omega, Georgia.  Omega is a small country town with a population of about 1200

Every time we drive through Omega we see the Omega Gin Co.  It is hard to miss this big building which does not sit too far off the highway.  It usually looks pretty quiet around there with not too much going on.  But, on this day things were different ... It was obvious that the cotton ginning season was in full swing ...

There were huge bales of cotton, which looked like they had recently been picked.  Some were in the round bales as seen above and some were in huge rectangle shaped bales as seem in the below photos.

I don't know anything about the ginning process and wanted to go inside the Gin and try to find out, but then I decided that was probably the last thing they wanted at this busy time of year.

If you are as interested as I was to find out more about cotton and the ginning process, 
this is a very interesting website I found with lots of good information:

This cotton has obviously not been put through the ginning process.  When the cotton is ginned the trash, sticks, leaves and stems are picked out and separated from the cotton through the ginning process.  The collection which has been separated from the cotton fibers is then packaged and loaded onto trucks and sold to dairies as livestock feed.

During the ginning process the seeds fall out and go into a storage shed and the cotton fiber is separated.  Sometimes the seeds are used as livestock feed or processed into cottonseed oil.

No one seemed to notice that I was making myself at home and taking pictures.  Before too long this huge truck backed up and positioned itself in front of this huge bale of cotton.  It appeared to be a specially designed truck used for picking up these huge bales of cotton to transport them for the ginning process.

It did not take this truck driver more than five minutes to get positioned and load this huge bale of cotton into the back of this truck.  He then drove over to the open door at the side of the building and backed inside.

After the cotton is ginned and processed the clean cotton is compacted into huge individual 500 pound bales, which look like giant loaves of bread, and then it is wrapped-up ready for sale.

After leaving the Omega Cotton Gin Co. I felt compelled to stop in one of the cotton fields and try to capture some photos of this amazing plant.  What a creative artist the good Lord is to have thought of this wonderful useful plant.

Of course, I had to touch the cotton and surprisingly it felt just as soft as the cotton balls I use for nail polish removal.  It was amazing!

My husband grew up in South Georgia, not far from Omega, in Moultrie.  He and his cousins picked cotton at his Aunt and Uncle's farm to make spending money when they were young.  He said the cotton itself was soft, but the part around the cotton was very rough and scratchy, which made the actual hand-picking of the cotton difficult.

It is interesting that the first modern mechanical cotton gin was created by American inventor Eli Whitney in 1793.  The first commercially made cotton picker was not invented until much later in 1947, and was also invented by an American,  John D. Rust,  who was from Texas.

It was surprising to me the purity and freshness and how clean the cotton remained after being outdoors all this time during the growing process.

The South with its long hot summers and rich soils obviously have 
ideal conditions for growing cotton.

After the cotton is all picked the stalks are plowed under to enrich the soil.

Leaving the cotton field, then driving through the little town of Omega, Georgia
this adorable Fall decorative display in the below photo caught my eye. 
How cute!  

I love the way they used the cotton stalks in their display.  It seemed so appropriate.

I hope you enjoyed driving with us through South Georgia and walking through 
the cotton fields on this beautiful day!

Wishing you a nice beginning of your week and many blessings wherever you may be.


  1. Wow, what a beautiful sight. I really enjoyed your first hand account of the cotton fields to the gin story. I always wanted to know if these fields really still existed. Also, if they were still picked by hand? But, thanks Mr. Whitney & Mr. Rust for the great inventions. Again, I applaud this article. Very informative. Thanks

  2. Hello and thank you for stopping by Sweet Southern Days. So glad you enjoyed the information about the cotton fields. Hopefully you can one day visit the South and see these beautiful fields first hand. I love to see them and they always remind me of the movie "Gone With The Wind." Thank you for your sweet words.
    Pat in Tallahassee