Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 31, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The moisture content of seed cotton dramatically affects the length of time it can be stored between harvest and ginning as well as the way it must be ginned. The difference of a few percentage points of moisture content make the difference for a module of seed cotton being stored with essentially no loss in fiber and cotton seed quality to nearly a total loss of the product. Looking at the problem a different way, if the moisture content of the seed cotton is high it cannot be ginned profitably, if the moisture content is intermediate it needs to be ginned soon after harvest and if it is low the seed cotton can be scheduled for ginning up to several months later without significant quality losses. A prototype of two different, but similar, devices were built and field tested which measure the fiber moisture content while harvesting and moduling. One device was retrofitted to a cotton harvester and the other to a module builder. Both devices were tested in 1997 and again in 1998. Both devices worked well and show promise in assisting in the management of harvesting and scheduling modules for ginning based on moisture content. Application of the technology will help prevent fiber deterioration.
Technical Abstract: Control of moisture during harvesting, storage, and ginning of seed cotton is critical to maintaining fiber and cottonseed quality. Application of the resistance-based moisture measurement technology to harvesting and moduling operations would reduce fiber and cottonseed degradation during storage prior to ginning. Prototypes of two devices to measure the moisture content of cotton in the field were built and data were collected with them. The first device was attached to the chute of the cotton harvester and measured samples while the machine was in use. The second device was attached to the tramper foot of a module builder and collected data while the module was being formed. The device on the harvester was tested with three separate baskets. There was not a statistically significant difference between the mean of the measured data, about 150 observations per basket, and the reference samples. The module builder obtained about 177 readings per module and reference samples were obtained at 44 separate locations on 9 days. The reference measurements were consistently lower than the measured data due to higher pressure placed on the electrodes in the module builder than had been used during calibration. However, the readings were used to accurately predict the observed data with linear regression. Both devices show promise in assisting in the management of harvesting and scheduling modules for ginning based on moisture content concerns.