Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 9, 2007
Publication Date: July 1, 2007
Citation: Byler, R.K., Baker, K.D., Hughs, S.E., Pelletier, M.G., Holt, G.A., Buser, M.D., Carroll, J.A. 2007. Examination of some currently available portable cotton bale moisture meters, 2006. National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference. CD ROM pp. 676-684. Interpretive Summary: Cotton is marketed by weight without regard to the moisture content (mc) but excessive moisture is not allowed and will lead to quality degradation during storage. Recently excessive moisture has been defined as mc greater than 7.5% wet basis at any point in the bale at the gin. Unfortunately there is no meter for determining the mc of cotton in the bale for which the accuracy has been documented. In this study seven commercially available portable moisture measurement devices, consisting of a bale probe and display, were purchased and used. A total of thirty two bales were prepared in several gins with regimes designed to achieve different mc. Each bale was measured in six locations with the seven measurement devices, lint samples obtained from the same locations, and the mc determined by the oven drying method. The meter readings were compared with the oven-based mc. One meter was more accurate than the others when no corrections were applied. The readings from all meters were improved significantly with linear corrections. It is unknown if the corrections found would be applicable to any particular meters other than those used in the study and these corrections may not be applicable with these meters at a later time because of drift. Additional data is being collected at all three ARS cotton ginning research laboratories for more complete analysis. A properly documented, commercially available cotton bale moisture meter is necessary to deal with the requirement of keeping the mc below 7.5%. The marketability of the US crop will be enhanced by keeping the bales below this upper limit.
Technical Abstract: This analysis must be considered to be preliminary, additional data will be added to the analysis and the conclusions may change. Seven commercially available portable cotton bale moisture content meter-probe combinations were examined for accuracy. Each of the devices was used to measure the same six locations on 32 bales. Lint samples were obtained from the same locations for moisture content (mc) determination by the oven method. One meter was found to be more accurate than the others. Graphical comparison showed that the measured mc appeared to be consistently different from the oven-based mc data for each of the meters. A constant offset was then calculated for each device, which considerably improved the measurement accuracy. Several of the meters could be considered to have similar accuracy with the offset applied. Finally, a linear fit with two coefficients was applied and several of the meters were as accurate as the others with this correction. It is unknown if these corrections would be applicable to other meters of the same model and manufacturer.