1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective is to develop and test a non-contract, online method of predicting the moisture content of seed cotton in the overhead section of the ginning plant. Having an accurate measure of seed cotton moisture content would greatly aid the ginning plant in managing dryer temperatures.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Knowing the moisture content of the seed cotton as it comes off the trailer or module would help the ginner manage dryer temperatures more efficiently. Using insufficent heat may not adequately dry the seed cotton, resulting in poor cleaning and ginning in the worst case, may cause choke-ups and possibly damage the machinery. Using too much heat can cause static problems that also may cause choke-ups, and it can make pressing a bale more difficult. But more importantly, too much heat damages the fiber, making it brittle and more prone to breakage. The aim is to use only enough heat to obtain a seed cotton moisture content of 6-7% prior to ginning.
A mathematical model that predicts moisture content of cotton as it enters the ginning plant was previously tested at the Glenbar Gin in Pima, AZ. It was not possible to properly calibrate the model due to a lack of wet cotton resulting from the recent drought. Instrumentation was moved to a cooperating cotton gin in Mississippi and installed in the unloading section of the gin to test the model. The Mississippi gin typically receives some cotton with high moisture content. Data was collected for a second year during the 2012-13 ginning season. The model performed better in 2013 because moisture samples and temperature data were taken at the same location. However, there were still problems with variability in mass flow rate of air and seed cotton and low drying air temperature. Instrumentation and procedural changes will again be made and data collected during the 2013-14 ginning season. The results of the study at the Mississippi gin were presented at the 2013 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International Meeting. This research will be the basis for a future journal publication.