Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/7/2003
Publication Date: 4/5/2003
Citation: Holt, G.A., Wilkinson, H., Lee. E. The COBY process: New value-added uses of cotton byproducts for the green industry. Proceedings of Beltwide Cotton Conferences. Cotton Engineering Systems Conference. CD-ROM. Memphis, TN: The National Cotton Council of America. 2003. p. 2543-2548. Interpretive Summary: A successful use for cotton gin byproducts has been the topic of numerous research studies for the past four decades. In an effort to promote use of these byproducts, the USDA-ARS, Cotton Production and Processing Research Unit in Lubbock, TX, developed the COBY process. The COBY process is designed to add value to the raw materials, thus enhancing their potential use as a livestock feed, fuel, mulch, and/or building material. This study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of a COBY mulch product in suppressing weeds and to determine if using the product resulted in any adverse effect on plant growth. Test plots were set up and evaluations conducted at Manteno and Urbana, Illinois. Three separate treatments were evaluated at three different application rates. Each treatment was replicated four times. Evaluations of flower quality and number of weeds were taken each week for six weeks. The evaluations of flower quality of the COBY treatments revealed a slight nitrogen burn on the flowering plants. After week three, any discoloration was gone. After week six, there was no significant difference in flower quality among any of the treatments. Results from the weed suppression study indicated that COBY application rates of 400 and 600 lbs per 1000 square feet significantly reduced weed growth compared to other treatments.
Technical Abstract: Byproducts produced from cotton gins are commonly seen as a financial liability affecting the bottom line to the producer. The COBY process was developed with the intention of adding value to these byproducts in an effort to change the liability into a source of revenue for cotton gins and producers alike. The COBY process is designed to produce various end use products from the same raw material. One of these products is mulch. The purpose of this research was to evaluate various application rates of COBY in suppressing weeds, and to determine if the product had any adverse affects on plant growth and flower quality. Studies were conducted at two different locations to evaluate and compare the COBY product in use as a dry-applied mulch for flowering plants. Ten separate treatments were evaluated for a period of six weeks. The results showed that, after six weeks, the application rates of 400 and 600 lbs per 1000 feet successfully suppressed weeds without adversely affecting flower quality.