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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Cotton Ginning Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #267931

Title: Spindle picker harvest speed effects

item Baker, Kevin
item Hughs, Sidney

Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/2/2011
Publication Date: 5/2/2011
Citation: Baker, K.D., Hughs, S.E. 2011. Spindle picker harvest speed effects. National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference. 510-515.

Interpretive Summary: Spindle picking has become the preferred method of harvesting most cotton in the U.S. Improvements to the cotton harvester have primarily focused on increased speed in order to reduce the cost of harvesting and reducing head weight. As the spindle speed has increased, cotton fibers can wrap more tightly around the spindle. As spindle diameter decreases, cotton fibers will wrap around the spindle more and will also become tighter on the spindle. As spindle length decreases, cotton plants must be further compressed as they pass through the picking zone. These changes have resulted in a general decrease in cotton fiber quality, particularly regarding spindle twists, preparation, and neps. This report describes the modifications to a modern cotton picker head in order to obtain spindle speeds from 2000 to 4000 rpm and field trial results in California cotton.

Technical Abstract: The gear drive of a modern John Deere Pro 16 picker unit was modified so that spindle speed was reduced without changing the drum speed. Three 1-row picking units were used in the study, one with the standard drive speeds, one with 25% reduction in spindle drive speed, and one with 50% reduction in spindle drive speed. Field tests were conducted in Corcoran, California, in the fall of 2010. Four replications of each of the three picker units were conducted on a Pima variety and an upland variety. Results show that the stalk loss was significantly higher for the unit with 50% spindle speed reduction, indicating that the spindle speed was too low for this unit. The other two units had no significant difference in values for stalk loss. In the near future, the seed cotton will be ginned and fiber quality analyses will be conducted.