Machines to form cotton modules at the site of harvest solved the serious problem of harvest being delayed by ginning capacity. A primary advantage of seed cotton modules has been the decoupling of the harvesting and ginning operations. By forming modules that can be stored in the field, harvest can continue when crop condition and weather allow, regardless of the ginning rate. Changes in the cotton ginning industry have resulted in modules exposed to inclement weather for longer periods of time. The consolidation of the ginning industry has meant fewer gins with larger service areas, and thus a longer ginning season.
Protection Against Weather
If not well protected, exposing seed cotton to weather can reduce both producer and ginner profits. Rain damages cotton by increasing moisture content, reducing color grade, causing rot and heating in the module. These avoidable quality changes affect the price received by the producer, as well as increasing the cost of ginning because of increased drying energy and reduced ginning rate. Wind can blow cotton from exposed modules, resulting in less salable lint and seed.
A Brief History of Cotton Modules
The need for an improved storing and transporting system led to the development in the early 1970s of the cotton module builder.
Three module types are available for cotton pickers: conventional modules, case IH half-length modules and John Deere round modules.
What Is at Risk When Seed Cotton Is Stored
The negative impact of weathering on seed cotton is well recognized. Studies have shown changes in color when seed cotton moisture is increased.
Forming Covering Conventional Modules
Maximum seed cotton protection during storage is related to module site selection, along with construction and covering the module to prevent water penetration.
Case IH Half-Length Modules
The Case IH Module Express cotton picker automatically forms the half-length modules with minimal action on the part of the operator.
John Deere Round Modules
The John Deere 7760 forms round modules, using a mechanism similar to that of a round hay baler.
Proper Cutting of Plastic Wrap on Round Modules
The primary concern is if the module is not positioned correctly, the cut to remove the wrap could be in the zone where the inner tail overlaps the outer tail.
Covers for conventional modules are manufactured from a variety of water resistant plastic materials and constructed as a film or woven from tapes.
Regardless of module type, safety should be high priority for all workers and operator’s manuals for their machines should be reviewed carefully.
A list of references for conventional and round cotton modules.