Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/17/2014
Publication Date: 4/27/2015
Citation: Hughs, S.E., Holt, G.A. 2015. Ginning. In: Fang, D.D., Percy, R. G., editors. Cotton, Agronomy Monograph 57. 2nd Edition. Madison, WI: American Society of Agronomy, Inc., Crop Science Society of America, Inc., and Soil Science Society of America, Inc. p. 609-664. doi:10.2134/agronmonogr57.2013.0048.
Interpretive Summary: The operation, size, and equipment of today’s modern cotton gin in the twenty-first century have changed significantly from the latter part of the twentieth century. This chapter was a needed update of current cotton ginning practice in the U.S. Cotton is a major row crop produced in the U.S. and a major agricultural export item in foreign trade. It is important that others involved in cotton outside of the gin machinery manufacturers, and cotton gin owners and operators have a basic understanding of how cotton gins operate, what basic choices in ginning equipment are available, what products cotton gins produce, and the impact on product quality that cotton gins have. This chapter includes an historical perspective, a detailed breakdown of the ginning sequence and information on quality effects of the fiber, seed and other products the gin produces. The information should be useful to the non-practitioner in terms of education and familiarization with this important segment of the U.S. agricultural industry.
Technical Abstract: The purpose of the cotton ginning process is to separate a field crop into its salable components. It is a necessary step between the farmer and the textile manufacturer. The original gin was a simple manually operated device that took hand harvested cotton and separated fiber from the cottonseed. Today’s modern cotton gin has evolved into a complex mechanical system that takes in mechanically harvested seed cotton to condition, clean, separate its components, further clean and then package the cotton fiber and handle the seed and trash for marketing by the producer. The modern cotton gin produces three products that have market value – the cotton fiber, the cottonseed, and the trash. Currently the two most valuable products are the fiber and the seed but the trash also has market value. The fiber is the most valuable product. The basic design and operation of the ginning process is aimed at fiber production and maintaining its value. Cottonseeds also have significant value and are primarily used either as animal feed or processed by oil mills into various food products. Some cottonseed are specially ginned and handled for planting seed for the next cotton crop. Gin trash is of relatively small value but is utilized for many purposes that range from compost to manufactured construction materials. The modern cotton gin takes a raw material, mechanically harvested seed cotton, and gives it market value by separating the fibers from the seed, separating foreign material, and packaging and handling all of these for commerce.