Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 31, 2007
Publication Date: February 1, 2007
Citation: Baker, K.D., Hughs, S.E. 2007. Spindle speed effects on cotton quality. In: Proceedings of the Beltwide Cotton Conference, January 9-12, 2007, New Orleans, Louisiana. 2007 CDROM p. 962-966. Interpretive Summary: 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 speed in order to reduce the cost of harvesting and reducing head weight. As the spindle speed has increased, cotton fibers can wrap more tightly around the spindle. As spindle diameter decreases, cotton fibers will wrap around the spindle more and will also 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: Field tests were conducted in 2005 by the USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Southwestern Cotton Ginning Research Laboratory in Mesilla Park, New Mexico. Three cotton varieties were grown under furrow-irrigated conditions in southern New Mexico and harvested with a modified 1-row cotton picker using a ground speed of 1.9 mph and spindle speeds of 1500, 2000, and 2400 rpm. The test was replicated 4 times. Harvest was completed March 1, 2006, and the test lots were ginned in March 2006. Stalk loss was greater for all varieties at a spindle speed of 1500 rpm than for spindle speeds of 2000 and 2400 rpm. An analysis of trash collected from ginning showed no significant differences among treatments. HVI classing data also showed no significant differences among treatments. No significant differences were observed for AFIS dust count, trash count, or upper quartile length. Differences were significant for nep count in the raw stock from the bale with the Delta Pine and ACALA varieties, but not with the Pima. Differences in AFIS short fiber content were significant in the raw stock from the bale with the ACALA and Pima varieties, but not with the Delta Pine variety. These nep count and short fiber differences disappeared as the fiber was further processed. Fractionation samples remain to be analyzed.