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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Cotton Ginning Research

Title: The accuracy of cotton bale moisture sensors used in a South Texas commercial gin with lint moisture restoration

item Byler, Richard

Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/7/2014
Publication Date: 2/6/2014
Citation: Byler, R.K. 2014. The accuracy of cotton bale moisture sensors used in a South Texas commercial gin with lint moisture restoration. National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference, January 6-8, 2014, New Orleans, LA. 568-575.

Interpretive Summary: Automated and manual moisture measurement systems were employed in a commercial gin located near El Campo TX. Lint samples were also obtained from the same bales and returned to the Cotton Ginning Research Unit of the USDA-ARS for moisture content analysis by the oven method. Data were collected with the systems for several hundred bales. The readings from the systems were compared statistically with the oven-based readings and improved calibrations were obtained based on the data. These data were compared with similar data obtained in 2011 and 2012 in other regions of the cotton belt.

Technical Abstract: Proper measurement of bale moisture content (mc) is crucial to proper management of a cotton gin. It is important to avoid producing wet cotton both for the benefit of the mills and because wet cotton is unacceptable for Commodity Credit Corporation Marketing Assistance Loan Program. Wet cotton is defined to be a bale of cotton which is at or above 7.5% wet basis (8.1% dry basis) at any point in the bale at the gin. Several meters are available from different manufacturers for the measurement of cotton mc and the accuracy of some of these meters have been evaluated in earlier studies. Based on the previous studies, data were collected with the Delmhorst handheld and Tex-Max® meters at two commercial gins in TX which had lint moisture restoration capability and samples of lint taken from the same bales which were tested by the standard cotton mc measurement, the oven method, at the USDA, ARS Cotton Ginning Research Unit in Stoneville, MS. The data included measurements by each meter plus the reference mc for 534 bales. The Delmhorst bale moisture probe, corrected for bale temperature as documented in the manual, was the most accurate of the meters studied without additional calibration. After an offset correction to the readings the Sam Jackson Tex-Max® was the most accurate.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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