Efficient cotton cleaning in a system framework
Bennett, Blake K.
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From the overall industry perspective, it is important to know the most efficient (least cost) mix of cotton cleaning activities across the entire system of cotton handling. The general objective of this research was to determine the least cost cotton cleaning configurations across the harvesting, ginning, and textile mill stages for irrigated, stripper harvested cotton produced in the Southern High Plains of Texas that can most efficiently deliver cotton with desired levels of cleanliness and quality characteristics. This general objective was achieved by employing survey, regression, and simulation techniques. Given the standard textile mill technology, the least cost cleaning configuration was found to include the use of a field cleaner in the harvesting stage and one lint cleaning in the ginning stage, regardless of the quality of yarn that is desired. The results of this study differed from the current cleaning practices of not using a field cleaner in the harvesting stage and using two lint cleanings in the ginning stage. It was determined that if the recommended cleaning configurations are employed, the cotton industry could save between $0.53 to $1.03 per bale of cotton depending on the desired yarn quality. Therefore, it is clear that the currently practiced cleaning methods contribute to excessive farm-to-mill costs. The existing pricing policy (premium/discount) may be somewhat responsible for the reported cleaning inefficiency. It should be noted however that moving toward optimal cleaning practices may not benefit all individual sectors of the cotton industry, but it should benefit the industry as a whole.