Submitted to: Journal of Cotton Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2011
Publication Date: 8/2/2011
Citation: Hughs, S.E., Gamble, G.R., Armijo, C.B., Tristao, D.C. 2011. Long-term storage of polyethylene film wrapped cotton bales and effects on fiber and textile quality. Journal of Cotton Science. 15(2):127-136. Interpretive Summary: The cotton bales produced each growing season are stored for some length of time before being used in the textile mill. The bales are usually wrapped in coverings that are permeable to moisture to some degree. These bales are stored in covered warehouses to keep them from being degraded in fiber quality by excess moisture entering the bale through the permeable covering. However there are some cotton bales grown in arid climates that are wrapped in waterproof coverings and stored outside for up to a year before being sold. It has generally been documented and accepted that cotton bales stored in warehouses suffer no quality change other than a small shift in color over time. However, the long term quality of cotton bales wrapped in waterproof coverings and stored outside in generally arid conditions has not been documented. The objective of the test reported here was to determine if there were any long term fiber quality differences between identical bales stored inside versus those stored outside. All bales, regardless of storage method, were wrapped in the same waterproof bale covering. Results showed that there were no significant differences in either raw fiber or textile quality between the bales stored by the two different methods.
Technical Abstract: Cotton bales are stored for various lengths of time after ginning in any given year depending on crop size as well as market demand. Storage of cotton bales in covered warehouses is the general industry practice for most of the U.S. cotton belt. However, some cotton bales are stored in outside holding yards in the more arid parts of the cotton belt by producer preference or because of lack of available indoor storage due to the size of the cotton crop in any particular year. Data is lacking on the relative effects on cotton quality between outside and inside storage of cotton bales. A one year bale storage test was initiated to determine the effects of long-term outside and inside bale storage under arid conditions on fiber and textile processing quality. Ten bales were stored in an approved warehouse and ten bales were stored in an outside storage yard. The bales were covered with a specially formulated linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) film with UV inhibitors. Each bale was sampled to determine HVI properties at the time of ginning and then instrumented with a temperature and humidity recorder prior to being placed in storage. The objective of the test was to determine if there are any significant differences in cotton quality factors due to storage from raw fiber through textile processing and no significant statistical differences were found to exist.