Submitted to: American Society of Agricultural Engineers Meetings Papers
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: July 15, 2004
Publication Date: August 12, 2004
Citation: Baker, K.D., Hughs, S.E., McAlister, D.D., Mackey, J. 2004. Quality of spindle-picked cotton. American Society of Agricultural Engineers. Paper No. 041052. Interpretive Summary: Spindle picking of cotton was developed in the 1930’s and 1940’s as a means to speed up and reduce the cost of harvest. Prior to this, all cotton was hand-harvested. Over time, spindle picking has become the preferred method of harvesting most cotton in the U.S. Improvements to the cotton harvester have primarily focused on increased capacity in order to reduce the cost of harvesting. As cotton harvesters have gotten bigger and faster, spindle speeds have increased. As the speed has increased, cotton fibers can wrap more tightly around the spindle. Spindle sizes have also decreased in both diameter and length in order to reduce the weight of the picker head. As spindle diameter decreases, cotton fibers will wrap around the spindle more and become tighter on the spindle. As spindle length decreases, cotton plants must be further compressed as they pass through the picking zone. These changes have resulted in a general decrease in cotton fiber quality, particularly regarding spindle twists, preparation, and neps.
Technical Abstract: Three cotton varieties were grown under furrow-irrigated conditions in southern New Mexico and harvested with three different spindle picker machine/speed combinations. Results for harvest losses and trash content showed a highly significant interaction between variety and machine/speed combination. This interaction caused difficulty in interpreting results from this 1-year study. Therefore, a follow-up study is planned.