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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Cotton Production and Processing Research » Research » Research Project #441517

Research Project: Technologies to Protect and Measure Seed Cotton in Modules

Location: Cotton Production and Processing Research

Project Number: 3096-21410-009-014-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jan 10, 2022
End Date: Dec 31, 2022

The objective of our work is to develop technologies that help to protect and manage seed cotton in modules during harvesting and ginning.

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 has been a primary goal of our research over the last several years. Our work in 2021 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 and substantially improved scanning rates at the original Frogmore, LA installation location and a new installation at Campbell, MO. The Missouri installation utilizes the RFID Module Scan mobile app, RFID Scale Bridge, and RFID Feeder Bridge systems only. Our goal in 2022 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.). The current installations in Louisiana and Missouri will be supported in 2022 as required. A new tool for use on wheel/telehandler loaders that collects module weight and seed cotton moisture data was developed in 2020 and 2021. In 2022 extensions of the loader system will be implemented to help address plastic contamination. The loader system will be expanded to include IP camera integration for the capture of images and video of modules to identify wrap damage during handling at the gin.Additionally, the loader system will be extended to incorporate a rotation feature through which round modules can be properly oriented for fixed position cutting in the recommended cutting zone. The work of this project in 2022 will 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 in round modules. In this effort, multiple seed cotton moisture sensing systems will be evaluated to determine the reliability in the reported data and determine (if possible) the relationship between the test unit moisture reading and the gravimetric oven based reference method moisture content. It is anticipated that the cotton used for this experiment will be harvested by cooperating producers and stored near the growing location. Ideally, multiple locations would be included in this study to cover a range in storage environments. Work on a new harvest moisture content prediction model for seed cotton, lint, seed, and foreign matter components will be conducted. The goal of this effort is to determine how well moisture content at harvest of various seed cotton components can be predicted using basic meteorological data measured on site. After harvest aid applications and just before harvest, samples of seed cotton, stick, bur, and leaf material will be hand collected from the unharvested crop for moisture analysis. The moisture data will be used along with the current and historical meteorological data to develop moisture content prediction models.