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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Cotton Production and Processing Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #258642

Title: Seed Cotton Handling and Storage

item SEARCY, S - Texas A&M University
item WILLCUTT, M - Mississippi State University
item BUSCHERMOHLE, M - University Of Tennessee
item Wanjura, John
item BRASHEARS, A - Retired ARS Employee
item BARNES, E - Cotton, Inc

Submitted to: Internet Web Page
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/15/2010
Publication Date: 9/15/2010
Citation: Searcy, S.W., Willcutt, M.H., Buschermohle, M.J., Wanjura, J.D., Brashears, A.D., Barnes, E.M. 2010. Seed Cotton Handling and Storage. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Storage of harvested seed cotton in the field prior to ginning has changed over the years to methods that decoupled harvesting and ginning operations and reduced labor. Prior to the introduction of the module builder, seed cotton was placed in trailers for transport to the gin where producers would wait for their cotton to be ginned before harvest could continue. The module builder allows seed cotton to be compressed into 8 ft wide by 8 ft tall by 32 ft long "modules" as the crop is harvested. Specially designed vehicles haul the modules from the field to the gin prior to ginning, allowing harvest operations to continue independently of ginning. Research on seed cotton storage in modules indicates that final lint and seed quality is influenced by several factors including initial moisture content, storage period length, air temperature and relative humidity, module shape, and tarp condition. Producers can save approximately $700 per module when a good module tarp is used on a well-formed module when rainy conditions are encountered during storage prior to ginning. Recent harvest system developments from industry have coupled the harvesting machine with equipment used to package seed cotton for infield storage. One of these systems forms a "half-module" that is similar in cross section to the conventional module but is only 16 ft long. The other system forms 8 ft wide by 7.5 ft diameter "round modules" and wraps them in a plastic film. Both of these new systems offer significant advantages to producers in terms of improved productivity and reduced dependency on labor. However, the seed cotton modules formed by both machines must be handled appropriately with regard to infield placement and transport to the gin to preserve fiber and seed quality and promote efficient ginning.