Submitted to: American Society of Agricultural Engineers Meetings Papers
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 4, 2003
Publication Date: July 27, 2003
Citation: Anthony, W.S. 2003. Impact of moisture on baled cotton. American Society of Agricultural Engineers Meetings Papers. Paper No. 031167, 37pp. Interpretive Summary: The United States cotton industry produces about 20 million bales of cotton annually and over half is exported. A recent increase in the amount of moisture restored to cotton fiber after ginning and before packaging has raised concern in the industry as to possible fiber degradation during storage due to excess moisture. Three studies evaluated the impact of moisture and bale coverings having different permeabilities on fiber quality during long-term storage (several months). Results indicated that water added to cotton fiber sufficient to increase the initial moisture to above 7.5% reduced the color of the fiber. Implementation of procedures to ensure that bale moistures remain below 7.5% will prevent loss of the market potential of cotton.
Technical Abstract: The purpose of this research was to determine if moisture applied before packaging caused fiber degradation during subsequent storage. Fiber quality characteristics of universal density cotton bales were determined before and after extended storage (months) in three separate studies. For the test bales, water was sprayed over the top of the fiber as it came down the lint slide after ginning and cleaning. The bales were then packaged at universal density and placed in either tripled polyethylene bags, woven polypropylene bags, or fully coated woven polypropylene bags, and then stored at atmospheric conditions. Initial moisture content after the water was added ranged from less than 5% to over 15%. The bales changed weight and moisture substantially during storage depending on the type of bale covering and the initial moisture content. Most fiber quality characteristics except color remained about the same. The HVI color decreased from Middling (31) before storage to as low as Strict Low Middling Spotted (43) after storage depending on moisture content. Other HVI data changed slightly during storage regardless of the moisture level. The higher initial moisture contents resulted in greater degradation in color. Cotton bales should not be stored at moisture contents above 7.5%, wet basis, regardless of bale covering materials.