EDITOR’S NOTE: This article – the third in a three-part series – was written by Dr. Thomas D. Valco, Cotton Technology Transfer Coordinator for the Office of Technology Transfer at the Jamie Whitten Delta States Research Center in Stoneville, Miss. In this installment, Valco discusses how cottonseed and gin waste can increase profits at the gin.
I have heard it said many times that the best way to tell how good a job you are doing in the gin is to look at what is coming out the rear of the gin.
The gin takes the harvested cotton module, conditions and separates it into different product streams – the lint into a marketable UD bale, the seed into storage (short or long term), the motes into a mote bale and the remaining wastes into a pile at the rear of the gin.
Under ideal conditions, about 1,275 pounds of material must be processed per 480-pound lint bale of picker cotton and much more for stripper cotton. If all goes as planned, it would be a simple process. Unfortunately, nothing is simple, and ginners need to take a close look at the trash pile to make sure the amount of fiber and seed is minimal.
No doubt lint is the primary product coming from the gin, while seed is second in value. It is a good idea to look at the seed coming from the gin stand for damage, saw nicks, broken seed coats or excessive staple fiber. Damaged seed could be an indication of poorly adjusted saw and rib spacing or the gin breast is out of alignment.
Seed that has any staple fiber remaining or tails is usually the result of overloading the gin stand seed roll or too much moisture in the cotton.
Double-Check Gin Stand
In worst-case situations, about 20 pounds of fiber can be claimed from 700 pounds of gin-run seed. To help alleviate these problems, double-check gin stand adjustments and slow down feed rates. Weighing seed output and occasionally comparing the seed from all stands can help to identify any problems.
Mote bales are typically derived from lint cleaner waste and contain staple fiber, short fiber, aborted seed, plant parts and dirt. Motes are cleaned to remove all the plant parts and dirt and packaged in 500-pound bales.
The mote bale numbers vary by gin, and differences can be based on gin equipment adjustments, collection points, grid bar settings and conditions and cleanliness of the motes. Look for a change in the number of mote bales generated or excessive staple fiber in the mote bales. This could be an indication of high lint moisture or poor grid bar adjustment.
It is always surprising that after a rain, some trash piles turn white as snow, showing how much lint is lost. And when the seed in the trash piles start sprouting, it is even more surprising. Normally, about 10 to 12 pounds of fiber per bale remain in the trash, but if you see a lot of seed cotton, you need to investigate.
Finding Value In Gin Trash
Some areas of the Cotton Belt have value in the trash pile, which can be sold to animal operations or converted to value-added products such as compost, dryer fuel or in hydromulch. Research is also conducted on how to use these products as feedstock for cellulosic ethanol production. Still other areas of the Belt have to pay someone to carry it off site.
Don’t hesitate to check to see what is coming out the rear of the gin. It may not be a pretty sight, but it can yield some helpful information. I’m hoping your ginning season is a safe and prosperous one.
Contact Tommy Valco at (662) 686-5255 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information is available at http://msa.ars.usda.gov/gintech.