Submitted to: Proceedings of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International (ASABE)
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/10/2007
Publication Date: 8/15/2007
Citation: Faulkner, W.B., Wanjura, J.D., Shaw, B.W., Hequet, E.H. 2007. Effects of harvesting methods on foreign matter content, fiber quality, and yarn quality from irrigated cotton on the high plains. Proceedings of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International (ASABE). June 17-20, 2007, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Paper No. 071113. Interpretive Summary: Cotton producers on the High Plains of Texas may realize economic gains through the use of picker type harvesters. Little information is available to these producers on differences in the quality of fiber and yarn produced from cotton harvested using the two commercially available mechanical harvesting systems; picking and stripping. The objective of the research engineers from ARS (Lubbock, TX), Texas A&M University, and Texas Tech University was to evaluate the effect of harvesting method on cotton fiber and yarn quality. Cotton samples were collected from an irrigated farm on the High Plains of Texas during the one year study. The results indicate that slight improvements to some fiber and yarn properties can be realized through the use of picker type harvesters. Cotton producers will likely benefit from economic incentives favoring improved fiber quality through the use of picker type harvesters. In addition, improvements to fiber characteristics will likely increase spinning mill demand for cotton produced on the High Plains region.
Technical Abstract: Harvest treatments were compared for a variety of cotton commonly grown on the High Plains of Texas. Foreign matter, fiber quality, and yarn quality were compared for cotton harvested using a spindle picker, a brush-roll stripper with a field cleaner, and the same stripper harvester without a field cleaner. Foreign matter content of seed cotton was significantly different for all three treatments, with picked cotton having the lowest foreign matter content and non-burr extracted seed cotton having the highest. All samples underwent similar cleaning regimes during ginning. Micronaire, length, and length uniformity as measured by HVI were better for picker harvested cotton than for stripped cotton leading to a higher loan value for the producer. While nep counts for picked cotton were lower than for non-burr extracted cotton, short fiber content, visible foreign matter, immature fiber content, and maturity ration were identical for all harvest treatments. Little difference in carded yarn quality was seen between harvest treatments, while more pronounced differences favoring picked cotton were seen in carded and combed yarn analyses. However, textile mills rarely comb fibers as short as those analyzed in this study. The results of this study indicate that producers may realize greater fiber quality and lint value by using picker harvesters as indicated by USDA classing office data. However, there is not currently enough data to adequately determine the effect of harvest treatment on yarn quality from High Plains cotton. Further research is needed utilizing more varieties and more mature cotton before conclusive results can be determined; however, results of this study indicate the need for more extensive fiber and yarn quality analyses than can be determined from HVI data alone when evaluating production system alternatives.