Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/31/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Cotton production in the United States suffers from a severe profitability problem. A new production concept for cotton which includes growing the cotton in rows spaced 10 inches apart as compared to 40 inches is under investigation. The new system increases profits by reducing production costs. A negative aspect of the new system is that the narrow-row cotton must be harvested with a machine that strips all the material from the plant compared to a machine that selectively removes the cotton with a minimum of plant parts. The quality of cotton fiber from this new system as it pertains to processing at the textile mill is not known. This study produced cotton from 10 growth locations in the South and Southeast and ginned at USDA facilities in Stoneville, MS. This cotton will be processed at the Pilot Spinning Plant at the USDA Cotton Quality Research Station, Clemson, SC. By using additional cleaning machinery at the gin, the grades of cotton produced under the narrow row system were equivalent to those produced under the conventional system with the exception of problems with segments of bark in the narrow row cotton. If the success at the gin continues through textile processing, some cotton farmers can decrease their production costs and the future of cotton in the United States will improve.
Technical Abstract: Ultra narrow row (UNR) cotton has decreased production costs and increased yields in some areas. The UNR cotton is planted in 7.5- to 10-inch rows and is harvested with finger stripper because the row spacing is too narrow for a conventional spindle picker. The purpose of this study was to provide conventional and UNR cotton grown in 10 areas across the South and Southeast and ginned on a common gin for subsequent textile mill processing evaluation. The following gin machines were used for the UNR cotton: Separator-dropper, dryer, cylinder cleaner, stick machine, dryer, cylinder cleaner, Combination Bur and Stick (CBS) machine, cylinder cleaner, extractor-feeder and saw-type gin stand followed by two stages of saw-type lint cleaning. For the conventional cotton, the CBS machine and one of the stages of lint cleaning were not used. Initial foreign matter averaged 7.8 and 20.9%, respectively, for the conventional and UNR cottons; the UNR cotton had over 3 times more foreign matter than the conventional cotton initially. The marketing classifications, including foreign matter, were about the same except that the fiber length was less or the UNR cotton. Ultra narrow cotton received barky calls on 1 of the 10 locations as compared to none for the conventional. Lint turnout differed dramatically for conventional and UNR cottons, and averaged 34.9 and 29.8%, respectively. Thus, about 245 more pounds of material was removed from the UNR cottons.