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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: COTTON TESTING AND GINNING SERVICES FOR THE COTTON INDUSTRY

Location: Cotton Ginning Laboratory(Stoneville, MS)

Title: Comparison of Selected Bale Moisture Measurements in a Commercial Gin

Author
item Byler, Richard

Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2012
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Citation: Byler, R.K. 2012. Comparison of Selected Bale Moisture Measurements in a Commercial Gin. In: 2012 Beltwide Cotton Conference, January 3-6, 2012, Orlando, Florida. p. 605-613.

Interpretive Summary: The main processes in cotton ginning are to dry the fiber, as necessary, remove extraneous material, and separate the fiber from the seed. Many gins also add some moisture to the lint either before or after the fiber-seed separation. Proper moisture levels result in improved fiber properties such as length and excessive moisture can result in fiber damage, mostly due to mold growth, during storage. The industry has agreed that the moisture content of fiber should not be above 7.5%, measured on a wet basis. Proper control of the moisture content during gin processing demands the use of adequate moisture measurement meters. Several manufacturers offer meters to assist in maintaining the proper moisture content but very little data is available about the accuracy of these devices. Data were collected using four of these meters at a commercial gin which had limited moisture restoration capability and samples of lint taken from the same bales which were tested by the only standard cotton moisture content measurement, the oven method. The data included measurements by each meter plus the reference moisture content for 469 bales. For uncorrected meter readings the Uster Intelligin was the most accurate. After meter calibration the Samuel Jackson Tex-Max was the most accurate with a single factor correction but the Delmhorst manual probe meter was as accurate after correction for the bale temperature and additional slope and offset correction. The best meters after calibration would be expected to be within ±0.9 percent moisture content most of the time.

Technical Abstract: Proper measurement of bale moisture content (mc) is crucial to proper management of a cotton gin. One issue would be to avoid producing wet cotton, unacceptable for Commodity Credit Corporation Marketing Assistance Loan Program, which is defined to be a bale of cotton which is at or above 7.5% wet basis (8.1% dry basis) anywhere in the bale. Several meters are available from different manufacturers for the measurement of cotton mc. Data were collected with four of these meters at a commercial gin which had limited moisture restoration capability and samples of lint taken from the same bales which were tested by the only standard cotton mc measurement, the oven method. The data included measurements by each meter plus the reference mc for 469 bales. For uncorrected meter readings the Uster Intelligin was the most accurate. After meter calibration the Samuel Jackson Tex-Max was the most accurate with a single factor correction but the Delmhorst manual probe meter was as accurate after correction for the bale temperature and additional slope and offset correction. The best meters after calibration would be expected to be within ±0.9 percent mc most of the time.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014