Gin Schools Aim To Keep U.S. Cotton Competitive

The 2014 Ginner Schools will feature practical information on topics ranging from new harvesting technology to cottonseed storage that will benefit not only certified ginners but also gin managers and superintendents.

The schools will continue to offer the Levels I, II and III of course instruction, but the schools’ coordinators remain committed to increasing the amount of leading edge information in the schools’ continuing education (CE) courses with the overall goal of elevating U.S. cotton’s global competitiveness.

NCGA Executive Vice President Harrison Ashley says, for example, there is an ongoing emphasis on contamination prevention so U.S. cotton can maintain its outstanding reputation for providing cotton free from foreign materials. Plastic film contamination, in particular, has become an issue as U.S. textile manufacturers reported increasing amounts of these materials in their laydowns. The materials are from several sources, primarily black plastic sheeting used in vegetable production and ditch liners, as well as wrap used on round modules.

Ashley notes that at last year’s schools, Rick Byler, a researcher at the Stoneville Ginning Laboratory, reported on findings from tests he ran involving varying types and sizes of plastic film, along with cotton, through the micro gin. The test’s purpose was to determine the effect that each machine had on the plastic and which machines were the most efficient at removing the plastic from the cotton.

Byler found that the lesser the thickness, the greater the chance of these plastics ending up in the bale. In fact, if these plastics make it to the gin stand, they will likely find their way to the bale. Lint cleaners do a poor job in removing plastic contaminants. He also found that extractor cleaners such as the stick machine and the extractor feeder removed the heavier plastics, and the cylinder cleaners did a better job of removing the lighter materials. Lighter plastics include mulching and shopping bags.

With the likelihood that the John Deere round module system will continue to gain popularity in Texas, the continuing education session will again feature discussions on the proper handling and removal of the round module wrap.

That new harvesting technology session also will look at harvester operation for efficiency and quality; harvest-aid options; and bark/other extraneous matter prevention and mitigation.

Ashley says the Continuing Education sessions also will provide an in-depth review of pre-cleaning drying and leaf grades; an automation update; energy usage; gin capacity robber identification, maximizing the gin’s production capacity; and new developments in the textile industry, including quality issues and problems with bark, seed coats, sticky cotton, oil and other contaminants.

He says a gin stand efficiency turnout session will include discussions of stand maintenance adjustments, measuring of residual lint on seed and research on saw tooth design.

A safety training session will talk about OSHA compliance, bale press maint-enance/safety, and feature an introduction to the NCGA’s new round module handling/safety video.

The 2014 Southwest Ginners School will be at the South Plains Ginning Laboratory in Lubbock, Texas, on March 31-April 2; the Western Ginners School will be at the Southwest Ginning Research Laboratory in Mesilla Park, N.M., on May 6-8; and the Stoneville Ginners School will be at the USDA Ginning Laboratory in Stoneville, Miss., on June 3-5.

Registration for any of the schools and course descriptions are at In addition, NCGA’s home page at offers useful gin information and other timely updates.

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