Submitted to: World Cotton Research Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 6, 1998
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The amount of trash and moisture in seed cotton harvested and brought to the gin varies greatly. The trash may be composed of different sizes of particles with some of these trash particles being very difficult to remove. Trash removal is complicated for some "hairy-leaf" varieties by the presence of plant hairs or trichomes that make removal from cotton fiber more difficult. However, most cotton is processed through the same amount of cleaning and drying equipment regardless of initial trash level, hairiness of the variety, desired final grade and to some extent, moisture level. An automated system to produce the highest value from the cotton by ginning each bale of cotton based on its trash and moisture content was developed. The Cotton Gin Process Control System (CGPCS) measures the moisture, color, and trash content of cotton before processing and estimates the influence of gin machines on those factors. It determines the optimum machine sequence and executes the decision for machines. The CGPCS maximizes profits and manages fiber quality. Eight CGPCS's will be in use in commercial gins in 1998 and will increase farmer profits about $15/bale.
Technical Abstract: A computerized gin process control system (CGPCS) to "prescription gin" cotton was developed and implemented in the U.S. Properly controlling the cleaning and drying that cotton receives during processing with a CGPCS increases monetary returns to the farmer, increases fiber yield and improves fiber quality. The CGPCS can be simple or complex and can range from a single camera that measures the color and trash of the cotton to several camera systems to measure color and trash, multiple moisture sensors, and automated valves that allow continuous and immediate diversion of the cotton during processing. Positive results from field experiences over a 9-year period from 1989 to 1997 at commercial cotton gins indicated that the equipment and software are very beneficial to the farmer. Sufficient increased profits to the farmer and ginner should recover the entire cost of the CGPCS system during the first year of operation. In general, controlling the level of drying increased bale weights about 10 lb per bale and bypassing one stage of lint cleaning on cotton selected by the computerized system increased the bale weight about 10 lb per bale. Monetary returns can be increased by $7 to $21 per bale for 16-20 million bales produced annually in the U.S. Fiber yield is increased 6% and neps and short fiber content are decreased over 40%.