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2020 Bale Packaging Specifications Approved

cotton bales in storageWilliam Beam, U.S. Department of Agriculture deputy administrator for farm programs, notified the National Cotton Council that the Joint Cotton Industry Bale Packaging Committee 2020 specification recommendations for cotton bale packaging materials are approved for Commodity Credit Corp. loan program purposes.

The 2020 specifications are identical to the specifications for the previous year’s crop except for the following revisions:

• Removed all references to Cold Rolled High Tensile Steel Strapping.

• Updated North American Free Trade Agreement references to U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

• Added light blue as an approved color for woven polypropylene.

At the JCIBPC February meeting, the Committee approved adding a color to the woven polypropylene bagging specifications. The discussion that led to this decision was based on some mills’ perception that “invisible” contamination comes from damaged woven polypropylene bagging when the tapes have fibrillated.

To detect contamination in fiber, mills are installing camera-based detection and separation systems in their cleaning rooms.

These systems use color-sensing technology to detect and then separate contaminants from cotton fiber. Some mills have expressed a preference for a more detectable color because the spectra of previously approved white and golden bagging colors are very similar to cotton fiber spectra and thus, if present, can be difficult for the camera systems to detect.

JCIBPC staff consulted with scientists at the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Lubbock Ginning Laboratory to determine the most detectable color compared to cotton fiber for these camera systems. With that guidance, staff recommended a translucent light blue equivalent to Pantone 306 C as an additional color for woven polypropylene bagging.

The 2020 JCIBPC specifications are on the NCC’s website at www.cotton.org/tech/bale/specs/. The specifications also include a test program review section that provides information on two continuing lightweight cotton bale bag test programs and one Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) strap compatibility test program.

The National Cotton Council provided this information.

Make Seed House Safety A Priority

Overhead seed houses are valuable for short-term seed storage, wet seed storage and gins with limited yard space. Design improvements allow overhead seed houses to be an efficient method for loading trucks from flat-storage houses. When fully loaded, a double-hopper seed house can weigh 200,000 pounds or more. This load hovers above trucks and personnel, so structural integrity is critical.

Volatile weather can put older seed houses at risk, especially those not properly maintained. Through the years, moisture and chemicals from seed along with humidity cause the inevitable — rust and corrosion. Since the damage primarily occurs inside the seed house, it’s out of sight and mind. If a structural failure occurs, personnel are put at risk of injury.

All cotton gins should review their overhead seed house safety and maintenance procedures before the start of the 2020 cotton ginning season.

Safety Comes First

• Never go beneath a seed hopper that contains seed.

• Properly guard all ladders and catwalks.

• Do not enter the seed trailer or climb on the side walls of the trailer.

• Post decals, “DANGER – DO NOT ENTER AREA BELOW HOPPER DOORS WHEN SEED IS IN STORAGE HOUSE.” These are free from your local ginning association.

• Contact your ginning association or loss control representative to get a copy of the “Cottonseed System Safety Policy” for employees, visitors and outside contractors such as seed haulers.

• Be sure to use all other known gin safety procedures daily.

Maintain And Repair

• All proper safety precautions should be taken by all personnel who perform maintenance and repairs.

• Clean out all seed.

• Clean hopper panels to remove seed oil. Steam cleaning consistently works well.

• Use sanding and steel brushing to make the inside surfaces of the hopper panels smooth again.

• Carefully examine the entire seed house for stress fractures and loose hardware, especially if vibrators have been used.

• Remove rust and corrosion.

View From The Catwalk

Best industry practices include the use of a trailer-viewing catwalk mounted on the outside of the vertical columns, approximately 9.5 feet above the driveway. This provides a good vantage point to see into the tops of the trailers to determine when to open and close the hopper doors.

Jim Granberry, president of Cliff Granberry Corp., contributed this article. Email jim@cliffgranberrycorp.com or call 972- 381-8899.