Submitted to: Journal of Cotton Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/15/2005
Publication Date: 10/1/2005
Citation: Byler, R.K. 2005. The effect on fiber length of modest moisture addition to seed cotton before the gin stand. Journal of Cotton Science. Vol. 9: 145-154.
Interpretive Summary: It has been known for many years that ginning seed cotton when the fiber moisture content is too low results in damage to the fiber resulting in shorter average fiber length and poorer spinning characteristics. In the past, much effort has been placed on controlling artificial drying in the gin to avoid over drying the cotton. However, with good harvest weather the seed cotton can be too dry with only natural drying. One possible gin plant retrofit was tested with only relatively small amounts of moisture added to the lint. This design simulated the situation resulting from cotton harvest with good weather and proper drying. This test showed that adding less than a percentage point of moisture resulted in a significant improvement of several measured fiber length properties. The data demonstrated an increase of $2.20 per bale based on the improved fiber length alone when the fiber mc was increased from 4.8% to 5.6%. Cotton samples collected in commercial gins often have moisture content level this low and lower. This study showed the potential for improvement in fiber quality resulting in a financial return for the farmer of the application of modest amount of moisture to seed cotton while ginning.
Technical Abstract: The objective of this study was to add a modest amount of moisture to seed cotton and determine the impact on fiber properties measured by the Advanced Fiber Information System (AFIS). In this study half of the bales were ginned with modest drying and half had humid air applied in what would normally be the second tower drier. The moisture content (wet basis) as determined by the oven method of the lint treated solely with drying averaged 4.8% and the lint with moisture restoration averaged 5.6%. The AFIS fiber length properties were significantly better for the lint with moisture restoration. Most of the AFIS foreign matter measurements were slightly higher (less desirable) for the lint following moisture restoration. A measurement indicating fiber damage was sought. The fiber length measurements were all highly correlated, but the length exceeded by 2.5% of the longest fibers calculated by number respond significantly to the treatment, given the basic fiber length measurement, and could be used to indicate in-gin fiber damage. Based on AFIS, the fiber length after the lint cleaners increased 0.5 mm (0.02 in.) per percentage increase in fiber moisture content due to moisture addition.