Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/10/2013
Publication Date: 1/7/2013
Citation: Porter, W.M., Wanjura, J.D., Taylor, R.K., Boman, R.K., Buser, M.D. 2013. Tracking cotton fiber quality throughout a stipper harvester: Part II. National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference. P:730-745. Interpretive Summary: Cotton strippers are the primary means used to harvest cotton produced in the Southern High Plains. Stripper harvested seed cotton containes a substantial amount more foreign material than picker harvested seed cotton that must be removed either in the field or at the gin. Removal of the excess foreign matter in the field reduces transportation and ginning costs incurred by the producer. This work was conducted to evaluate the influence of the various harvesting, conveying, and cleaning systems on seed cotton cleanliness and fiber quality. We found that most of the cleaning performed on the harvester takes place in the row units and in the onboard field cleaner. The intermediate conveying systems contribute little in the way of cleaning but also do not damage fiber quality. This work points out that future design work should focus on the conveying systems used on stripper harvesters to provide additional in-field cleaning.
Technical Abstract: Cotton fiber quality begins to degrade naturally with the opening of the boll and mechanical harvesting processes are perceived to exacerbate fiber degradation. Previous research indicates that stripper harvested cotton generally has lower fiber quality and higher foreign matter content than picker harvested cotton. The main objective of this project was to track cotton fiber quality and foreign matter content throughout the harvesting units and conveying/cleaning systems on a brush-roll stripper harvester. During 2011 seed cotton samples were collected at six locations including: 1) hand-picked from the field, 2) just after the brush rolls in the row unit, 3) just after the row units, 4) from the separation duct after the cotton was conveyed by the cross auger, 5) from the basket with the field cleaner by-passed, and 6) from the basket after the cotton was processed through the field cleaner. During 2012 the second location (just after the stripper rolls in the row unit) were eliminated from the collections. Seed cotton samples collected at each location were analyzed for foreign matter content and ginned to produce fiber for HVI and AFIS fiber analyses. Results independent of year effect were very similar from 2011 and 2012. Results show that the row unit augers and field cleaner are the most effective systems on a cotton stripper for removing foreign material. AFIS and HVI results indicate that the harvesting, conveying, and cleaning systems on a stripper harvester have a minimal effect on fiber length characteristics and the formation and size of neps. Leaf grade increased between the harvesting units and the field cleaner due to the breakup of foreign material caused by mechanical action in the conveying system. The field cleaner helped to reduce leaf grade back to the level observed at the stripper rolls. It is very important to note that independent of year effect, the results presented in this paper show very similar trends between two harvest seasons. Thus, the data represented is of high accuracy and the integrity was preserved between the two years. The results of this work indicate that the cross auger and pneumatic conveying systems on stripper harvesters could be redesigned to help improve seed cotton cleanliness while helping to preserve fiber quality.