Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/27/2011
Publication Date: 4/25/2011
Citation: Wanjura, J.D., Faulkner, W.B., Holt, G.A., Pelletier, M.G. 2011. Ginning picker and stripper harvested high plains cotton - update. In: Proceedings of the Beltwide Cotton Conferences, January 4-7, 2011, Atlanta, GA. p. 491-506. 2011 CDROM. Interpretive Summary: Cotton grown in the Texas High Plains region has improved in both yield and quality over the last decade due to improvements in the cultivars grown and irrigation practices. Farmers have begun to look to picker harvesters to harvest cotton crops in order to preserve improved fiber quality and take advantage of field productivity gains associated with picking under high yield conditions. Ginning methods are needed which help to preserve fiber quality. The objective of this work is to investigate the influence of harvest method, the number of stick machines used in seed cotton cleaning during the ginning process, and seed cotton cleaning rate on seed cotton foreign matter content, lint turnout and quality. As expected, picker harvested cotton had less foreign matter in seed cotton samples collected after harvest (prior to ginning) than cotton harvested by a stripper equipped with a field cleaner. The stick machines used in the seed cotton cleaning system removed more foreign matter from picked cotton than from stripped cotton and also removed more foreign material from seed cotton fed through the system at lower mass flow rates. Seed cotton cleaning sequences utilizing two stick machines removed more foreign material from both picker and stripper harvested cottons than sequences using only one. However, the difference in total foreign matter removal between one and two stick machines was greater for stripped cotton than for picked. Lint turnout after one lint cleaner was higher for picked cotton (34%) compared to stripped (38%), with no turnout differences observed by the other main factors tested. Fiber quality parameters were primarily influenced by harvest method and favored picking. The use of two stick machines improved color indicators and reduced the amount of foreign matter contained in lint after one and two lint cleaners. For some tests, the use of two stick machines improved length parameters. Seed cotton cleaning rate had a minimal effect on fiber quality. The results of this work support current recommendations for configuring seed cotton cleaning systems to handle the different initial foreign matter content levels of picker and stripper harvested cotton.
Technical Abstract: Texas High Plains cotton has improved over the last ten years with regard to yield and High Volume Instrument (HVI) fiber quality. Harvesting and ginning practices are needed which preserve fiber quality and maximize return to the producer. The objective of this work is to investigate the influence of harvest method, number of seed cotton extractor cleaners (e.g. stick machines), and seed cotton cleaning rate on foreign matter content, lint turnout, and fiber quality. During the 2009 and 2010 crop years, irrigated cotton grown in the Texas High Plains was harvested and ginned using treatment combinations defined by harvest method (picker or stripper with field cleaner), number of stick machines used in the seed cotton cleaning system (one or two), and seed cotton cleaning rate (low, medium, or high). The twelve treatment combinations were replicated three times for a total of 36 runs for each of six tests (216 total runs). The six tests were conducted to capture regional variation with regard to soil type, production practices, available volume of irrigation, and cultivar. Picker harvested cotton contained less foreign matter than stripper harvested cotton and affected differences by harvest method for total foreign matter removed by the stick machines, total foreign matter removed during the ginning process, and lint turnout. The use of two stick machines removed more foreign material from seed cotton than using only one and more foreign material was removed by the stick machines for slower seed cotton cleaning rates. Total stick machine seed cotton loss was not different by any of the main effects tested. Seed cotton cleaning system efficiency was greater for stripper harvested cotton and when two stick machines were used but seed cotton cleaning rate had no effect. Fiber quality was influenced most by harvest method where picker harvested cotton exhibited improved HVI and AFIS (Advanced Fibre Information System) fiber quality parameters compared to stripper harvested cotton. The use of two stick machines compared to only one improved some HVI and AFIS length characteristics and resulted in lower lint foreign matter content. Seed cotton cleaning rate had a minimal effect on fiber quality. The findings of this work support the current recommendations of using one stick machine in seed cotton cleaning systems processing picker harvested cotton and two stick machines in systems processing stripper harvested cotton.