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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Cotton Production and Processing Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #357212

Research Project: Enhancing the Profitability and Sustainability of Upland Cotton, Cottonseed, and Agricultural Byproducts through Improvements in Pre- and Post-Harvest Processing

Location: Cotton Production and Processing Research

Title: Effects of harvesting and ginning practices on southern high plains cotton - fiber quality

item Wanjura, John
item Armijo, Carlos
item Delhom, Christopher - Chris
item BOMAN, RANDAL - Oklahoma State University
item FAULKNER, WILLIAM - Texas A&M University
item Holt, Gregory
item Pelletier, Mathew

Submitted to: Textile Research Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/20/2019
Publication Date: 4/29/2019
Citation: Wanjura, J.D., Armijo, C.B., Delhom, C.D., Boman, R.K., Faulkner, W.B., Holt, G.A., Pelletier, M.G. 2019. Effects of harvesting and ginning practices on southern high plains cotton - fiber quality. Textile Research Journal. 89(23-24)4938-4958.

Interpretive Summary: The quality and yield of cotton produced in the US Southern High Plains have improved recently and, as a result, interest has increased from growers in finding improved harvesting and ginning methods that help to preserve the gains in fiber quality. Previous research showed that picker harvesting and roller ginning can improve fiber quality relative to stripper harvesting and saw ginning. However, conventional roller ginning is about 5 times slower than saw ginning and is not a commercially viable option to process the upland crop produced in the southern high plains. Recent roller ginning research demonstrated a new high-speed roller ginning system that maintains the fiber quality benefits of commercial roller ginning at processing rates equivalent to saw ginning. Therefore, we conducted a three year study to compare the lint turnout, seed quality, and fiber quality of upland cotton produced on the southern high plains harvested with pickers and strippers and ginned using both saw and high-speed roller ginning. Our results show that both picking and high-speed roller ginning substantially improve length and nep characteristics over stripping and saw ginning and produce fiber that is much more valuable to ring spinners that consume about the vast majority of the US crop.

Technical Abstract: The lint yield and fiber quality of cotton produced in the Southern High Plains of the United States have improved over the last decade renewing interest in finding harvest and ginning practices that better preserve fiber quality. Previous research showed that picker harvesting and roller ginning may better preserve fiber quality, but conventional roller ginning was too slow to be adopted as the primary ginning system used for upland cotton. Advancements in roller ginning technology have increased the ginning rate per unit width of rotary-knife roller gins to equal that of saw gins. Research has shown that improvements in nep content and fiber length characteristics afforded by conventional roller ginning compared to saw ginning are maintained by the new high-speed roller gins (HSRG). The objective of this work is to compare fiber quality, seed quality, ginning rate, and lint turnout of upland cotton produced in the Southern High Plains, harvested using a spindle picker or a brush-roll stripper, and ginned using saw or HSRG systems. The findings of this work indicate that the HSRG substantially improved the length characteristics of the upland cultivars tested regardless of harvest method. Turnout was higher for the HSRG and for picker harvested cotton. Nep content was reduced for picker harvested cotton and the HSRG. The fiber length distribution and nep content improvements from the HSRG system make this fiber more attractive to ring spinning mills which produce high count yarns for high value products.