Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2007
Publication Date: 6/1/2007
Citation: Hughs, S.E. 2007. Harvesting and ginning sticky cotton. In: Hequet, E., Henneberry, T.J., Nichols, R.L., editors. Sticky Cotton: Causes, Effects, and Prevention. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. Technical Bulletin 1915. p. 140-147. Interpretive Summary: This is a summary report of research done looking for ways to remove or control stickiness from insect honey dew on harvested cotton so that it could be processed through the gin plant. Honey dew deposition on open cotton bolls from late season aphid or whitefly infestations of cotton fields can cause the harvested fiber to become sticky. This sticky seed cotton then will adhere to machine and metal piping surfaces within the gin plant causing cotton flow blockage and operational problems. The higher levels of honey dew contamination caused more severe ginning problems. The highest levels of contamination resulted in not being able to process the cotton at all through the ginning process. Roller ginning is more sensitive to sticky cotton than is saw ginning because of the mechanical differences in the gin stands. It was found that, with air humidity levels below 30%, heating honey dew contaminated cotton above 150º C greatly decreased the stickiness of contaminated cotton and allowed the ginning process to proceed for at least short periods. It was also found that two chemical additives, Milube N-32 and HIIvol SCF, when used in small amounts on dry seed cotton will enable honey dew contaminated cotton to be processed through the gin for short periods. In either case, the gin plant still had to be stopped at intervals and all effected surfaces cleaned of deposited honey dew. The cleaning interval depended on the level of honey dew contamination. Regardless of the methods used or the level of stickiness in the cotton, the benefits to the ginning process did not carry over to the textile mill.
Technical Abstract: In the U.S., honeydew-contaminated cottons have caused problems, mainly during manufacturing and processing of yarn. The honeydew causes fibers to stick to the equipment during carding, drawing, roving, and spinning. Stickiness problems can become so severe, either from whitefly or aphid infestation, that difficulties can be encountered in ginning, particularly the roller ginning of Pima cotton. This report is a summary of research that gives the background of cotton stickiness problems and guidance as to mechanical and chemical means of aiding the gin processing of honeydew contaminated cotton.