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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Cotton Production and Processing Research » Research » Research Project #439514

Research Project: New Technologies for Managing Cotton Modules and Harvest Information

Location: Cotton Production and Processing Research

Project Number: 3096-21410-009-009-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jan 1, 2021
End Date: Dec 31, 2021

The objective is to address industry concerns for mitigation of plastic contamination, development of a module management system using RFID technology, and provide information on safe moisture content levels for storage of cotton in round modules.

Work in 2021 will focus on testing and refinement of the electronic module management tools developed in prior years and on applying those tools to address industry concerns related to plastic contamination. The industry priority of mitigating plastic contamination will be addressed through work to complete revisions to an ASABE Standard on Cotton Module Cover Material Performance and through continued work to monitor unloading and unwrapping activities at commercial cotton gins. Additional work will focus on determining the safe moisture content for seed cotton stored in round modules as a function of storage duration. The development and demonstration of a system of tools for managing cotton modules using RFID technology that functions independently of manual/paper-tag based systems is a primary goal of this effort. The individual tools form the basis of an electronic module management system that can be used by gins to automate the identification and tracking processes associated with moving cotton from the field to/through the gin. Our work in 2020 focused on improving the software and hardware components of the EMM system to improve reliability and facilitate the autonomous operation of the RFID Scale Bridge system. Software changes were implemented but limited field evaluation was conducted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our goal in 2021 is to complete the development and field testing of this system of tools to enable the management of modules using RFID technology and demonstrate the functionality and opportunities through which to glean additional value (additional information, labor savings, reduced burden, fiber quality mapping, etc.) A new tool for use on wheel/telehandler loaders that collects module weight and seed cotton moisture data was developed in 2020 and will be field tested in 2021. A video data collection system was designed and implemented with RFID Feeder Bridge at two West Texas Gins in 2020 to help document the unloading/unwrapping process for round modules and identify handling issues that lead to potential contamination events. Additional work with the system developed in 2020 is planned for 2021 at the same gins and may be extended to additional gins to record data for other unwrapping techniques/systems. In response to mill and grower concerns on perceived increases in leaf and foreign matter content for cotton harvested by new CP690 pickers, a field based experiment to compare leaf, lint foreign matter content, and fiber quality for cotton picked by a conventional basket-type picker (JD 9996) and a new CP690 round module building picker was conducted in 2020. While the harvesting and commercial ginning phase of the 2020 work is complete and sample analysis is underway, additional field work in 2021 may be required to complete this study. The work of this project in 2021 will also focus on determining the safe seed cotton moisture content for cotton stored in round modules. This work will investigate the effect on fiber and seed quality of a range of seed cotton moisture contents as a function of storage duration. Multiple seed cotton moisture sensing systems will be evaluated.