Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/12/2004
Publication Date: 6/12/2004
Citation: Anthony, W.S. 2004. Moisture change in cotton bales stored in different environments. In: Proceedings of the National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference, January 4-6, 2004, San Antonio, Texas, CD ROM p. 3017-3033.
Interpretive Summary: The Joint Cotton Industry Bale Packaging Committee (JCIBPC) of the National Cotton Council helps the cotton industry improve the packaged bale of cotton. As bale storage and handling practices change and as new technology emerges, the industry develops new types of bagging in response to the new requirements. The JCIBPC thoroughly investigates new bagging to ensure that they perform satisfactorily before approving widespread commercial use. This USDA study reports the results of one such investigation of new bagging materials. The permeability of the bagging which influences the change in bale weight during storage, was lower for the new bagging as compared to the standard bagging. Eight bales of cotton were packaged at universal density and stored without bagging at ambient conditions for 81 days; then the same eight bales were randomly placed in four (two standard and two experimental) different types of bagging and stored at high (80%) humidity for 100 days; and then the same bales were stored for 305 days at moderate (50%) humidity. The bales were weighed periodically. The bales gained and lost moisture at different rates depending on the type of bagging. Although they provided greater protection for the cotton, the experimental bagging did not allow the cotton bales to breath as much as did the standard bagging. As a result, the experimental bagging will not allow the bales to gain as much weight during storage or give up excess moisture. Both of these factors can possibly reduce profits for segments of the industry. Adoption of the experimental baggings will be hampered by these findings.
Technical Abstract: The density of baled cotton as well as the storage climate and permeability of the protective covering on the bale all influence the rate of moisture gain and loss as well as the bale thickness. Eight bales of cotton were packaged at universal density and stored without bagging at ambient conditions for 81 days (Phase I). The bale thickness was measured periodically and the bale weights were measured before and after the storage period. The same eight bales were randomly placed in four different types of bagging (two experimental and two standard) and stored at 26.7°C (80°F) and 80% relative humidity (RH) for 100 days (Phase II). Then, the same bales were stored for 305 days at 21.1°C (70°F) and 50% RH (Phase III). For Phases II and III, the bales were weighed and their thickness measured about twice weekly. The bales gained moisture for Phases I and II but lost moisture (weight) for Phase III. Bale thickness increased initially after storage as climate conditions fluctuated during Phase I. During Phase II at 80% RH, the bale thickness increased. However, during Phase III at 50% RH, the thickness decreased. The change in bale weights differed for the different types of bagging, with the experimental bagging allowing less weight change.