Submitted to: Applied Engineering in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/20/2012
Publication Date: 9/20/2012
Citation: Wanjura, J.D., Faulkner, W.B., Holt, G.A., Pelletier, M.G. 2012. Influence of harvesting and gin cleaning practices on Southern High Plains cotton quality. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 28(5):631-641. Interpretive Summary: The adoption of improved cotton cultivars and irrigation practices in the Southern High Plains of the US have led to increased yields and improved fiber quality. In an effort to realize the maximum economic benefit from improvements in both fiber quality and yield, some producers have begun to use spindle pickers to harvest cotton crops. Regional gins that process cotton with improved fiber quality characteristics must also be mindful of the influence that post-harvest processing can have on maintaining fiber quality from the field to manufacturing. This project was conducted to investigate the influence of harvest method and seed-cotton cleaning practices on foreign matter content, fiber quality, and yarn quality of cotton produced in the Southern High Plains. Specifically, cotton harvested with a spindle picker or brush-roll stripper was cleaned at the gin using different seed cotton cleaning treatments characterized by the number of stick machines used (1 or 2) and the rate which seed cotton was processed through the cleaning equipment (high, medium, or low). The use of two stick machines improved seed cotton and lint foreign matter content levels for both picker and stripper harvested cotton. Compared to using only one stick machine, two stick machines improved fiber color parameters. Higher seed cotton cleaning rates decreased the cleaning performance of stick machines and other cleaning equipment in sequence before the extractor-feeder but seed cotton cleaning rate had a minimal influence on fiber quality. Lint value on a per bale basis was higher for picker harvested cotton but stripper harvested cotton returned more per unit of land area. Yarn imperfections were reduced for picker harvested cotton processed through only one stick machine at the high cleaning rate compared to stripper harvested cotton processed through two stick machines at the high cleaning rate. The findings of this work support a recommendation for using two stick machines in seed cotton cleaning systems processing stripper harvested cotton and one stick machine for seed cotton cleaning systems processing picker harvested cotton.
Technical Abstract: Southern High Plains cotton has improved over the last ten years with regard to yield and HVI (High Volume Instrument) fiber length and strength. In light of increased adoption of picker harvesting to preserve fiber quality and improve harvest productivity, ginning practices are needed which preserve fiber quality and maximize return to the producer. The objective of this work was 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 value, and fiber and yarn quality of cotton produced in the Southern High Plains. Compared to using only one stick machine, the use of two stick machines in the seed cotton cleaning system removed more foreign material from both picker and stripper harvested cotton, but more foreign material was removed by the stick machines from stripper harvested cotton because it had higher initial foreign matter content. Seed cotton cleaning rate had no influence on stick machine cleaning performance for picked cotton, but higher cleaning rates reduced stick machine cleaning performance for stripper harvested cotton. Picker harvested cotton exhibited improved HVI and AFIS (Advanced Fiber Information System) fiber quality and higher bale values compared to stripper harvested cotton. The use of two stick machines improved fiber color properties and reduced lint foreign matter content. Seed cotton cleaning rate had a minimal effect on fiber quality and bale value was not influenced by the number of stick machines or seed cotton cleaning rate. Total lint value, on a production area basis, was higher for stripper harvested cotton after both lint cleaners compared to picker harvested cotton due to yield differences. Yarn imperfections were reduced for ring spun yarn produced from picker harvested cotton processed through one stick machine at the high cleaning rate. The findings of this work support a recommendation for using one stick machine in seed cotton cleaning systems processing picker harvested cotton and two stick machines in systems processing stripper harvested cotton.