Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Cotton Production and Processing Research » Research » Research Project #445298

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

Location: Cotton Production and Processing Research

Project Number: 3096-21410-009-022-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Feb 1, 2024
End Date: Dec 31, 2024

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

Continuing with work begun in 2023, work this year will investigate the change in fiber and seed quality of cotton stored in round modules as a function of harvest moisture content and storage duration. Field scale work locations in Texas and Mississippi are planned to produce cotton for use in this portion of the project. The cotton in TX will be machine stripped while the cotton in MS will be spindle picked and, moreover, differences in growing environments, production practices, and cultivars are expected to generate varying crop conditions at harvest that will make the findings of this work applicable across the US cotton-belt. 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. Ginning of modules and/or samples will be conducted based on producer needs and availability of research facilities. A new harvesting concept is being investigated that collects whole cotton plants from the field and makes the total biomass grown available for post-harvest processing and utilization. An objective of our effort in 2024 is to conduct and facilitate research efforts focused on the development of this new cotton harvesting approach. Specifically, in-field studies to determine the storage characteristics of whole-plant harvested cotton compressed into bales ranging in bulk density from about 10 to 18 lb/ft3 will be conducted. Cotton plants will be compressed and stored under cover at CPPRU in Lubbock for storage durations ranging from 0 to 4 months. Samples of the bales will be collected after storage for fiber, seed, and vegetative material characterization. Another portion of our work in 2024 will aid in the development of a post-harvest machine system designed to open compressed bales of whole-plant harvested cotton and separate the seed cotton and vegetative materials for downstream processing. The development and demonstration of a system of tools for managing cotton modules using RFID technology contained in round module wrap that functions independently of manual/paper-tag based systems has been a primary goal of our research over the last several years. 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. System installations at cooperating gins in Frogmore, LA; White Oak, MO; Spade, TX; and Levelland, TX aided in testing and development efforts. A goal of our work in 2024 is to finalize and publish the design and testing details for each of the tools comprising the electronic module management system. It is anticipated that the source code and executable files for each of the sub-systems will be made publicly available through these publications.