High harvesting efficiency (leaving as little seed cotton in the field as possible) is critical to maintaining profitability, especially for farmers growing nonirrigated crops. Harvesting efficiency for brush-roll strippers is high, usually in the range of 98-99%. However, some aspects of fiber quality (such as micronaire and length uniformity) can be reduced for stripped cotton due to the presence of immature fiber from bolls located at the top of the plant. The presence of immature fiber can also influence fiber length, strength, and color grade.
Environmental conditions often limit the maturity of cotton crops on the Southern High Plains. However, late-season crop management practices with regard to irrigation termination and harvestaid applications can help reduce the severity of these maturity issues. Application of boll-opening harvest-aid chemicals to immature crops can result in reduced yield and fiber quality.
Leaf grade for stripped cotton is generally higher than picked cotton due to higher initial foreign matter content. The industry has adopted ginning practices over the years to efficiently remove foreign material and bring leaf grades down. Ginners should be careful to prevent excessive fiber breakage due to poor moisture control, high processing rates, and excessively aggressive lint cleaning.