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Influence of Harvesting and Gin Cleaning Practices on Southern High Plains Cotton Quality

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 28(5): 631-641. (doi: 10.13031/2013.42427) @2012
Authors:   J. D. Wanjura, W. B. Faulkner, G. A. Holt, M. G. Pelletier
Keywords:   Cotton, Ginning, Harvesting

Southern High Plains cotton has improved over the last ten years with regard to yield and fiber length and strength. In light of increased adoption of picker harvesting to preserve fiber quality and improve harvest productivity, ginning practices are needed which preserve fiber quality and maximize return to the producer. The objective of this work was to investigate the influence of harvest method, number of seed-cotton extractor cleaners (e.g. stick machines), and seed-cotton cleaning rate on foreign matter content, lint value, and fiber and yarn quality of cotton produced in the Southern High Plains. Compared to using only one stick machine, the use of two stick machines in the seed-cotton cleaning system removed more foreign material from both picker- and stripper-harvested cotton, but more foreign material was removed by the stick machines from stripper-harvested cotton because it had higher initial foreign matter content. Seed-cotton cleaning rate had no influence on stick machine cleaning performance for picked cotton but higher cleaning rates reduced stick machine cleaning performance for stripper-harvested cotton. Picker-harvested cotton exhibited improved HVI and AFIS fiber quality and higher bale values compared to stripper-harvested cotton. The use of two stick machines improved fiber color properties and reduced lint foreign matter content. Seed-cotton cleaning rate had a minimal effect on fiber quality and bale value was not influenced by the number of stick machines or seed-cotton cleaning rate. Total lint value, on a production area basis, was higher for stripper-harvested cotton after both lint cleaners compared to picker-harvested cotton due to yield differences. Yarn imperfections were reduced for ring spun yarn produced from picker-harvested cotton processed through one stick machine at the high cleaning rate. The findings of this work support a recommendation for using one stick machine in seed-cotton cleaning systems processing picker-harvested cotton and two stick machines in systems processing stripper-harvested cotton.

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