Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/30/2004
Publication Date: 1/30/2004
Citation: Holt, G.A., Buser, M.D., Pelletier, M.G., Harmel, R.D., Potter, K.N., Lee, E. 2004. The COBY Process: Bedding mulch study results. In: Proceedings of the Beltwide Cotton Conference, January 7-10, 2004, San Antonio, TX. 2004 CD-ROM. p. 986-993. Interpretive Summary: Finding a use for cotton gin byproducts that can be implemented across the cottonbelt has been problematic. One application that shows promise for utilizing processed gin byproducts is the Green Industry (landscape and horticultural markets). In this study, cotton gin byproducts that had been processed using USDA's patented COBY process were evaluated for their effectiveness in suppressing weed emergence and promoting plant growth (flower quality). Tests were conducted at the cooperator's location (Summit Seed, Inc., Manteno, IL). The study consisted of evaluating nine different mulches (3-COBY products, cottonseed hulls, lint cleaner waste (motes), Texas stripper waste, ground Texas stripper waste, Arizona picker waste, and a conventional wood mulch) at three application rates (300, 600, and 900 lb/1000ft2). Each treatment was replicated three times. The results indicate the COBY product suppresses weeds equal to, or better than, the conventional wood mulch, but adversely affected plant growth. Analytical results of the mulches revealed high concentrations of soluble salts in the raw gin waste and COBY materials. Additional studies are being planned to identify the cause and possible remediation of the additional salts in both the raw material and COBY process.
Technical Abstract: One of the potential uses of processed cotton gin byproducts (gin waste or gin trash) is mulch in bedding plant applications. A value-added technique known as the COBY Process was used to produce three mulches for different types of gin waste (Arizona picker trash, ground Texas stripper trash, and Texas stripper trash). This study investigateed the effectiveness of the COBY products compared to cottonseed hulls, conventional wood mulch, lint cleaner waste (motes), and the raw gin trash used to make the COBY mulches for weed suppression and plant growth. Three application rates were used for all mulches, 300, 600, and 900 lb/1000 ft2. The outcome of the study showed mixed results in the performance of the COBY product. Overall, the COBY products performed equal to, or better than, the other mulches in suppressing weeds. However, six of the nine COBY treatments had lower flower quality ratings at the end of the study period (eight weeks)than they did initially. One of the problems discovered was the high soluble salt content (1450 to 2100 ppm) of the COBY product, which caused reduced plant growth compared to the other mulches evaluated. A majority of the soluble salts (1245 to 1575 ppm) were in the raw material initially. However, two of the COBY products exhibited higher soluble salt concentrations than the parent material from which they were produced. Possible causes for the increased salt concentrations are being investigated and could include the water and/or color dyes used in the process.