The 2021 cotton harvest in Southwest Oklahoma has yet to get into full swing.

While there are some cotton samples starting to arrive last week at some area gins, the Carnegie gin was already busy ginning cotton from one farmer about 8 miles south of town.

“By next week everyone should start getting a large volume of cotton,” Carnegie Gin Manager Brandon Covington said. “We are dealing with both round bales and modules, but I’d say now we are handling more and more round bales. I think last season we handled 4,300 round bales (which normally weigh around 4,500 pounds) and around 800 modules.

“When we started getting busy, we should be able to gin between 250 or 300 bales an hour.”

Late last week the Tri-County Gin near Chattanooga was preparing to start ginning and manager Angel Rodriguez said his eight-member crew is expecting to start seeing a steady stream of round bales and modules this week.

“We ginned around 17,000 bales last year, but that crop wasn’t as good as some of those we had in the last few years,” he said. “We are still getting mostly modules but a few guys are doing round bales.”

The issue is cost, the new round bale strippers cost around $750,000, so not many farmers can afford that large of an expenditure.

“There are a couple around here that have them but most still bring in modules,” Rodriguez said. “There are a few custom guys who come in with those round balers and I expect that will increase over time.”

The largest volume normally comes from the Altus Cotton Cooperative, which ginned just over 168,000 bales last year. And the CHS gin in Frederick, which did about 35,000 bales last year, had yet to receive any cotton as of early last week. One field in Tillman County has reportedly been picked, but it was taken to a gin in Pampa, Texas.