Cotton moisture management is critical to cleaning, handling and fiber quality preservation at the gin. Cotton with too high of a moisture content will not easily separate into single locks, but will form wads that may choke and damage gin machinery or entirely stop the ginning process. Cotton with too low a moisture content may stick to metal surfaces as a result of static electricity generated on the fibers and cause machinery to choke and stop.
Fiber dried and processed with low moisture content is more brittle and easily damaged by the mechanical actions required for cleaning and ginning. When pressing and baling low moisture cotton, hydraulic pressure dramatically increases causing excessive equipment wear, and problems with bale tie breakage escalate.
Ginners are constantly dealing with cotton coming into the gin that is too wet or too dry. Therefore, it is important that ginners closely monitor moisture levels throughout the ginning process. Too often, fibers are over dried, and additional moisture is needed. Restoring moisture to cotton fibers improves processing efficiencies.
Research has shown moisture content for seed cotton cleaning and ginning is best at 6 to 7, which allows for sufficient cleaning with minimal fiber damage.
Studies conducted at the USDA-ARS Cotton Ginning Labs have shown that moisture content over eight percent leads to color degradation of the fiber during long storage periods. Those bales stored at moistures greater than 10 percent had obvious dark discolorations due to microbial growth.
Although the optimum processing and storage moisture contents of cotton are well known, it is difficult to measure accurately the moisture content, especially with free moisture on the fiber.
There are three ways to measure final bale moisture: Radio frequency transmission, electrical resistance and bale pressure. All have limited accuracy but can be used to identify the extreme conditions of high and low bale moistures.
Ginners should do everything possible to manage moisture during processing and at the bale to maximize bale value for the producer and the reputation of the U.S. cotton industry.
– Thomas D. Valco, USDA Cotton Technology Transfer. For additional information, go to http://msa.ars.usda.gov/gintech. Contact Valco in Stoneville, Miss., at firstname.lastname@example.org via email or call (662) 686-5255. Each month Valco offers timely updates and information in the Cotton Ginners Marketplace section about all facets of cotton ginning.
Tim Price’s Review Of Southern Ginners’ Meeting
I would like to thank everyone who attended the Southern Cotton Ginners’ summer meeting in Memphis. We had an informative session with some outstanding speakers, and I think this was the perfect kickoff as we prepare for another ginning season throughout the Mid-South.
Our safety meetings throughout the region went extremely well in August. We all know that we have to be vigilant and prepared for any government regulations that could be forthcoming this fall.
Mid-South ginners are always looking ahead and trying to prepare for the next challenge that comes our way. Whether it’s fewer cotton acres, new gin revenue sources or understanding the problem of our farmer customer, we continue to adapt, and that is certainly how we will survive in the future.
It is nice to know that our cotton acres are stabilizing and increasing in some areas of the Mid-South. That will be important as we try to maintain infrastructure while being sensitive to the crop rotation realities on our farms.
All of us left the Memphis meeting feeling energized about what lies ahead. With proper preparation and a proactive attitude, I anticipate a much improved gin season.
Lubbock Electric Launches New Web Tracking System
The timing couldn’t have been any better for Lubbock Electric as Texas prepares for what could be a record-breaking cotton crop this fall.
In an effort to streamline its operations and better track gin information, the company has upgraded its EAGL.SYS system with new software that is Web-based rather than PC-based.
Lubbock Electric general manager Steve Moffett says the reason for the upgrade was crucial because Windows XP will not be widely supported in 2012. In preparation for this transition, the company is testing out a WebView read-only view of gin data for 2010.
Moffett says the company will eventually develop its own on-line system, which will be ready for 2011 and beyond.
The system helps ginners as they record producers’ broad range of crop information such as seed variety, module and bale numbers as well as seed and bale weights. When the system scans a bale in the gin, it records the information and sends it to a computer in the gin office.
Prior to EAGL.SYS, the information had to be written down and then entered into the computer in a time-consuming process. The system saves time and reduces costs.
“We have invested a lot of money into this system,” says Moffett. “But, in the long run, it’s going to pay off by making us so much more efficient. I don’t know if there is any irony in the fact that we’re looking at a huge crop this year in Texas. But I do know this will make for streamlined information at the gin.”
Approximately 54 gins in the High Plains area currently use the EAGLE.SYS system, but the opportunity for growth is encouraging because there may be as many as 150 gins that don’t have the software.
Moffett also says that Lubbock Electric has reached a formal agreement with Plains Cotton Cooperative Association (PCCA), which has its own Web-based gin service software. In return for furnishing timely warehousing information, PCCA will pay a portion of the gin’s bale fees.
Another positive aspect of the Lubbock Electric software is that the company will donate a penny to the American Museum of Agriculture in Lubbock for every bale that is ginned with EAGL.SYS. In addition to being a loyal supporter of the museum, the company is involved with the Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association/Texas Tech scholarship fund through its association with Cotton Farming.
Sept. 1 – Supima Board Meeting, Coalinga, Calif.
Sept. 2 – Supima Annual Meeting, Coalinga, Calif.
Sept. 2 – Judd Hill Field Day, Trumann, Ark.
Sept. 2 – Missouri Cotton Field Day, Portageville, Mo.
Sept. 14 – TCGA Safety Seminar, Lubbock, Texas.
Sept. 15 – TCGA Safety Seminar, Childress, Texas.
Sept. 16 – TCGA Safety Seminar, Lubbock, Texas.
Sept. 15 – Staplcotn Annual Meeting, Greenwood, Miss.
Sept. 20-25 – ICAC Plenary Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
Sept. 22 – Americot Field Day, Lubbock, Texas.
Sept. 28 – Calcot Board of Directors, El Paso, Texas.
Sept. 30-Oct. 1 – Boll Weevil Action Committee, Little Rock.
Oct. 13 – PCG Quarterly Board Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
Oct. 25-26 – Pink Bollworm Meeting, Tempe, Ariz.
Nov. 9-11 – CCI Sourcing Summit, Los Angeles, Calif.
Nov. 9-11 – Cotton Inc. Crop Mgt. Seminar, Memphis, Tenn.
Dec. 7-9 – Cotton Board/Cotton Inc., joint meeting, TBD.
Dec. 15 – Staplcotn Board Meeting, Greenwood, Miss.
Jan. 4-7 – Beltwide Cotton Conferences, Atlanta, Ga.
Jan. 12 – PCG Quarterly Board Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
Jan. 19-22 – Southern-Southeastern Meeting, Savannah, Ga.
Jan. 26 – Ga. Cotton Commission Annual Meeting, Tifton, Ga.
Feb. 4-6 – NCC Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas.
Mar. 16 – Staplcotn Board Meeting, Greenwood, Miss.
March 31-April 1 – TCGA Annual Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
June 15 – Staplcotn Board Meeting, Greenwood, Miss.
Aug. 24-26 – NCC Mid-Year Board Meeting, Santa Fe, N.M.
Sept. 21 – Staplcotn Annual Meeting, Greenwood, Miss.
Jan. 3-6 – Beltwide Cotton Conferences, Orlando, Fla.
Jan. 22-25 – Southern-Southeastern, Hilton Head, S.C.
Feb. 10-12 – NCC Annual Meeting, Memphis, Tenn.
March 29-30 – TCGA Annual Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
Jan. 7-10 – Beltwide Cotton Conferences, San Antonio, Texas.
Feb. 8-10 – NCC Annual Meeting, Memphis, Tenn.
April 4-5 – TCGA Annual Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.