Evaluation of different ginning treatments for yield and fiber estimates in small plot research
Mull, Cody Wayne
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While cotton breeders have utilized cutting edge technology in many areas to improve selection of superior genotypes, the system used for ginning small plot cotton samples has basically been static over the past several decades. The objective of this work was to evaluate the different ginning processes now available to cotton breeders to ensure the best estimates for yield and fiber quality. Six different ginning systems were compared in this study. Pre-cleaning of seed cotton was performed using a scaled down commercial seed cotton cleaner. Lint cleaning after ginning compared an air-jet lint cleaner recently developed by the USDA-ARS Ginning Laboratory in Lubbock, TX with a scaled down mechanical cleaner built by Cherokee Fabrication Co. Inc. The mechanical lint cleaner is also used in the University of Georgia’s micro-gin facility. All of these studies took place at the Bayer CropScience cotton breeding facilities in Lubbock, TX using several diverse cotton genotypes harvested in 2013 from a trial grown in Southland, TX. Pre-cleaned seed cotton samples had less foreign matter in the form of sticks and burs after ginning with seed weights reflecting that. Pre-cleaned seed weights averaged 282 grams while non pre-cleaned seed weights averaged 362 grams, a 22% difference. Pre-cleaned seed cotton samples also had higher lint percent values than non-pre-cleaned samples. Lint percent values for pre-cleaned seed cotton was 41.4% compared to 36.0% when not pre-cleaned. Lint weight ranged from 205 grams when seed cotton samples were not pre-cleaned to 199 grams when seed cotton samples were pre-cleaned. This is only a 6 gram difference and indicates that the foreign matter the seed cotton pre-cleaner is removing is from the seed fraction remaining after ginning and not so much from the lint. Yield rankings also became slightly more stable when the seed cotton was pre-cleaned. Additional lint cleaning after ginning did not significantly impact estimates of length, strength and micronaire as determined by High Volume Instrument (HVI) analysis. However, additional lint cleaning did significantly decrease Gin Turn-Out (GTO), lint percent and leaf trash index. The average GTO when lint cleaned after ginning was 32.2% vs 36.4% when not lint cleaned. Lint percent when lint cleaned after ginning was 37.9% vs 40.4% when not lint cleaned. The leaf trash index was 5.9 when lint cleaned vs 7.7 when not lint cleaned after ginning. Yield ranks did change between the different treatments but not enough that variety advancement decisions would change. While commercial gins use both types of lint cleaners to get the best possible fiber quality for the producer, cotton breeders seek the most efficient way to get estimates on yield and fiber quality. This study suggested that the use of a pre-cleaner prior to saw ginning provided lint samples that allowed accurate estimates of yield and fiber quality. It also appeared that additional lint cleaning after ginning was not necessary to determine yield rank and fiber quality.