One of the most significant advancements in productivity of the U.S. cotton industry is the cotton module. The cotton module decoupled the harvesting and ginning operations, allowing for a timely harvest while maintaining quality during storage. The system has evolved during the years since its introduction in 1972, especially the module cover.
Early module covers were made of cotton canvas and were replaced with synthetic materials of polypropylene or vinyl, which are easier to handle and less expensive. All different shapes, materials and tie-down methods have evolved over the years.
During the last ginning cost survey in 2007, the average per-bale cost of the module cover was about $1.22. This number depends on initial cost, number of times used each season and number of seasons used before discarding. This cost is small in comparison to the new John Deere round module wraps, which cost about $9 per bale (four bales per round at $36 per wrap).
The round module wrap not only protects cotton from moisture but also serves as a container for transport from field to gin. Many ginners comment on how much easier round modules are to gin because of the uniform consistency of the cotton. In fact, some gins hold the rounds for last because they store so well. But when you spend that much money for a module cover, $9 compared to $1.22, it should store better.
This leads to an obvious question. What if we put the same dollars into the module covers or at least increased them? A study conducted at Texas A&M University helped to quantify the true cost of a module cover (What is the Real Cost of a Cotton Module Tarp?, L-5478, TAMU). During rainy conditions, modules that were stored with poor module covers lost up to $400 in value due to color loss because of wet cotton. This loss does not take into account the loss in ginning capacity: 42 bales per hour down to 29 bph, a 30 percent reduction.
Can we afford to spend more on module covers? I think so. Remember the 3 Cs for cotton modules: Cover, construction and coordinates. Use only a high quality cover – no holes, rips or tears, with proper tie-downs. Inspect and repair covers each season. Construct the module like a loaf of bread, high in the middle and slopping on the ends to help shed water. Select high, well drained coordinates to locate the module for storage.
Don’t wait until harvest season. Repair those covers that are salvageable and order new ones for replacements. As hard as it is to do, throw those damaged covers away. At today’s cotton prices, inferior covers can damage many dollars of cotton. Educate your producers that poor covers and practices cost both of you money. Additional information can be found at http://msa.ars.usda.gov/gintech.
– Thomas D. Valco, USDA Cotton Technology Transfer. For additional information, go to http://msa.ars.usda.gov/gintech. Contact Valco in Stoneville, Miss., at email@example.com via email or call (662) 686-5255.
April 12-13 – ACP Spring Meeting, New Orleans, La.
April 19-21 – Texas Cotton Assoc. Meeting, Austin, Texas.
April 20 – PCCA Board and Delegate Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
June 15 – Staplcotn Board Meeting, Greenwood, Miss.
July 10-13 – Southern/Southeastern, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
July 13 – Plains Cotton Growers Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
May 11-13 – ACSA Annual Convention, Washington, D.C.
May 15-17 – NCPA Annual Meeting, Scottsdale, Ariz.
May 18 – PCCA Board and Delegate Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
June 3-6 – CGWA Annual Meeting, Coeur D’Alene, Idaho.
June 7-9 – CI Board of Directors/C. Board Meeting, Dallas, Texas.
June 15 – PCCA Board and Delegate Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
June 15 – Staplcotn Board Meeting, Greenwood, Miss.
June 16 – Calcot Board Meeting, Bakersfield, Calif.
June 22-25 – CWAA Annual Meeting, Miami Beach, Fla.
June 26-28 – Fiber Buyers, S. Textile Assoc., Hilton Head, S.C.
July 10-13 – Southern/Southeastern meeting, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
July 13 – PCG Quarterly Board Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
Aug. 2-4 – Cotton Board/CI Meeting, Durham, N.C.
Aug. 17 – PCCA Board and Delegate Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
Aug. 17-18 – ACP/Cotton Found., Corpus Christi, Texas.
Aug. 24-26 – NCC Board Meeting, Santa Fe, N.M.
Sept. 21 – Staplcotn Annual Meeting, Greenwood, Miss.
Sept. 27 – Calcot Annual Meeting, Corpus Christi, Texas.
Oct. 12 – PCG Quarterly Board Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
Oct. 19 – PCCA Board and Delegate Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
Oct. 20-21 – ICA Trade Dinner Event, Liverpool, UK.
Nov. 16 – PCCA Board and Delegate Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
Dec. 6-8 – CI/ Cotton Board meeting, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Dec. 21 – PCCA Board and Delegate Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
Jan. 3-6 – Beltwide Cotton Conferences, Orlando, Fla.
Jan. 11 – Plains Cotton Growers Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
Jan. 23-26 – Southern/ Southeastern, Hilton Head, S.C.
Feb. 10-12 – NCC Annual Meeting, Fort Worth, Texas.
March 21-24 – Bremen Cotton Conference, Bremen, Germany.
March 29-30 – TCGA Trade Show, Lubbock, Texas.
Aug. 22-24 – NCC Mid-Year Board Meeting, Memphis, Tenn.
Jan. 7-10 – Beltwide Cotton Conferences, San Antonio, Texas.
Feb. 8-10 – NCC Annual Meeting, Memphis, Tenn.
April 4-5 – TCGA Trade Show, Lubbock, Texas.
Aug. 21-13 – NCC Mid-Year Board Meeting, New Orleans, La.