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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 #375922

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

Location: Cotton Production and Processing Research

Title: Assessing the influence of spindle harvester drum arrangement on fiber quality and yield

Submitted to: Journal of Cotton Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/6/2020
Publication Date: 12/20/2020
Citation: Van Der Sluijs, M.H., Wanjura, J.D., Boman, R.K., Holt, G.A., Pelletier, M.G. 2021. Assessing the influence of spindle harvester drum arrangement on fiber quality and yield. Journal of Cotton Science. 24:229-237.

Interpretive Summary: The spindle-type cotton harvester is the primary machine used in countries where mechanical cotton harvest is practiced. Two different row units are available on these harvesters: opposed and in-line drum row units. The opposed drum row unit harvests cotton from both sides of the row. The in-line drum row unit harvests cotton from one side of the row. Farmers are quite interested in yield and fiber quality differences between the two row unit types, but very limited research is available on the subject. This work was conducted in Australia and the United States with high-yielding, modern varieties to investigate differences in yield and fiber quality between opposed and in-line drum row units. No differences in lint yield were observed between the row units. Most all fiber quality parameters were not different between the row units except for length uniformity and strength which showed small improvements for the opposed drum row unit in the US. Lint trash content was lower for the in-line row unit type. The findings of this study help to show growers that both row unit types can harvest high yielding cotton efficiently while preserving fiber quality. Other factors such as cost, ease of setup and operation, and availability of parts and service should be considered when purchasing a spindle-type cotton harvester.

Technical Abstract: On spindle type cotton harvesters, spindles are attached to bars which are arranged on rotating drums. Opposed drum harvesting units position one drum on each side of the row, whereas harvesting units with an in-line drum arrangement position both drums on the right side of the plant row. Two studies conducted in Australia and the United States focused on comparing drum arrangement in regard to harvesting efficiency and fiber quality as there has been no recent published research using high yielding commercial varieties. These studies concluded that there were slight but insignificant differences among opposed and in-line drum arrangements in terms of harvesting efficiency and lint turnout. Although only statistically significant for the work conducted in the USA, lint ginned from seed cotton harvested by the opposed drum arrangement contained more trash than that harvested by the in-line arrangement. In both countries there were small insignificant differences in terms of fiber color (both Rd and +b), length, and micronaire, after ginning and lint cleaning. Although not observed in Australia, small significant differences in length uniformity and strength were observed in favor of the opposed drum arrangement in the USA. Measured only in Australia, there were no significant differences between the two drum arrangements in terms of short fiber index, fineness, and maturity. There was also no significant difference between the two drum arrangements in terms of total, fibrous and seed-coat nep content, and size.