Project Number: 3096-21410-007-00-D
Project Type: Appropriated
Start Date: Jul 8, 2010
End Date: Jul 6, 2015
The focus of this project plan is to establish a highly interactive research program that addresses agricultural quality related issues, with an emphasis on pre-harvesting with regards to operations that have a direct impact on quality of the harvested product, harvesting and post-harvest production and processing of cotton lint, cottonseed, and cotton byproducts. The specific objectives are: 1) Develop commercially preferred technologies for harvesting and processing of upland cotton that minimize energy requirements and improve cleanliness and quality of the seed cotton, cottonseed, and/or lint fiber; 1A. Develop new harvesting systems that improve seed cotton cleanliness and maximize fiber quality; 1B. Develop optimum harvesting and ginning techniques for upland cotton grown in the Texas High Plains region to maximize fiber quality and producer return; 1C. Develop and evaluate different processes or technologies to clean lint in the ginning process; 2) Develop commercially viable sensing systems for preservation and/or enhancement of the quality of seed cotton, cottonseed, and/or lint fiber; 2A. Develop sensing technology for monitoring/control of cotton harvesters; 2B. Develop sensing technology for control of cotton gin moisture restoration systems; 2C. Develop sensing technology for rapid fiber quality measurements; 3) Identify, assess, and develop new commercially preferred techniques for enhancing the value and utility of byproducts and co-products from cotton and cottonseed processing facilities; 3A. Develop commercially viable erosion control and/or grass seed establishment products utilizing cotton gin byproducts; 3B. Develop and evaluate the use of cotton gin byproducts for various composite materials; 3C. Evaluate processes that best sort, size, and package cotton gin byproducts for optimal utilization into value-added processes.
Cotton harvesting, processing, and byproduct-biomass utilization research will develop real-world solutions that contribute to global competitiveness of U.S. cotton producers by improving quality assessment and process control, enhancing raw material and end-product quality, and developing commercially viable products and techniques that promote byproduct utilization. This plan of work will: 1) yield new or improved equipment and processes that effectively and efficiently harvest and process agricultural fibers and byproducts; 2) identify and quantify sources of fiber quality variation; 3) result in new or improved quality measurement methods, standards, and instrumentation; 4) introduce innovative methods that mitigate fiber quality deterioration during handling and storage; and 5) improve feedstock derived from cotton and cotton byproducts. Specific products of the research effort will include: 1) an onboard field cleaning system for 6- and 8-row cotton stripper harvesters; 2) an energy efficient onboard conveyance system for cotton stripper harvesters; 3) selective harvesting methodologies designed to preserve cotton fiber quality for use with spindle picker harvesters in the Southern High Plains; 4) an onboard moisture sensing system for cotton stripper harvesters; 5) moisture sensing systems for the non-invasive examination of moisture content in baled cotton; 6) improved hydromulch containing various blends of agricultural processing byproducts; 7) improved process technology for utilizing cotton-based biomasses in building materials; and 8) improved methods for separation of residual fibers from cotton processing waste streams.