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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Development of Water Management Technologies for the Mid-South

Location: Crop Production Systems Research Unit

Title: Mechanization, sensing, and control in cotton production

Authors
item Sui, Ruixiu
item Thomasson, J -

Submitted to: Taylor and Francis Group
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: October 17, 2012
Publication Date: March 26, 2013
Citation: Sui, R., Thomasson, J.A. 2013. Mechanization, sensing, and control in cotton production. In Book of Agricultural Automation: Fundamentals and Practices, eds. Q. Zhang and F.J. Pierce, CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group. pp. 125-148.

Interpretive Summary: Cotton is one of the world’s most important agricultural crops. Many recent improvements in production and processing efficiencies have centered around automation in the form of mechanization, sensors, and controls. Precision-agriculture technologies for cotton have included yield monitoring and sensing and control systems for variable-rate application of, for example, nitrogen. Electronic and sensing systems have also been developed for mapping fiber quality and profitability. Remote sensing has been used to measure crop variability, and automated systems have been developed for commercial application of remote sensing for variable-rate pesticide application. A great deal of mechanization has been incorporated into the harvesting and ginning of cotton. In recent years sensing and control systems have been added to harvesters and particularly gin systems, to the extent that a complete automation system in a cotton gin can automatically include or exclude entire cleaning machines from the ginning sequence based on inline sensors. The continued improvement and profitability of the cotton industry will depend on further development of automation.

Technical Abstract: Cotton is one of the most important crops in the world. Mechanization, sensing, and control systems play an important role in cotton production and processing. Mechanical development and application of the cotton gin, the cotton harvester, and the cotton module builder dramatically increased cotton productivity and improved cotton fiber quality. The cotton gin separates the fiber from the seed, which is the most essential processing step in marketing and distribution of harvested cotton. The cotton harvester greatly reduces the manpower required to pick cotton. The module builder compresses harvested seed cotton into large blocks for field storage and efficient transport to the gin. Sensing and control technologies are very important components in precision agriculture. In recent years, precision agriculture technologies, including yield and quality mapping, remote sensing for assessment of plant growth conditions, and sensor-based systems for variable-rate application, have been developed and gradually adopted to improve the efficiency of cotton production. The continued improvement and profitability of the cotton industry will depend on further development of automation systems which integrate mechanical, sensing, and control technologies.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014