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LOGO: Journal of Cotton Science


An Evaluation of Alternative Cotton Harvesting Methods in Northeast Louisiana - A Comparison of the Brush Stripper and Spindle Harvester

Authors: Joel Curtis Faircloth, Robert Hutchinson, John Barnett, Kenneth Paxson, Alphonse Coco, and Paul Price III
Pages: 55-61
Agronomy and Soils

In response to increases in cotton production costs, producers are seeking ways to reduce input expenses. Because brush strippers are less expensive to operate than spindle harvesters, research was performed to compare the efficiency of a brush stripper harvester to a spindle harvester. Yield and high volume instrumentation (HVI) data were analyzed from paired comparisons of stripper- and spindle-harvested plots to examine the economics associated with each harvesting system. Additionally, advanced fiber information system (AFIS) analysis was performed on lint to further examine fiber properties associated with cotton from both harvesting methods. Weights of harvested material (seed cotton plus trash) were higher in plots harvested with a brush stripper, but gin turnout was lower. In 2000, lint yields were not significantly different, but in 2001 lint yields were significantly higher in stripper-harvested plots at two of four locations. Trends in HVI data displayed decreased micronaire values and increased color grade values in stripper-harvested plots. Both changes were likely a result of the greater efficiency of the stripper in harvesting bolls that had been partially rotted and/or “hardlocked”. Factoring yield data, HVI data, and reductions in input costs, stripping significantly increased overall dollar value per hectare at two locations and numerically increased revenue at one of the two remaining locations in 2001. Based on AFIS analyses, increased foreign matter, neps immature fibers, and short fibers, which are negative fiber characteristics, were recorded in the stripper-harvested cotton. Because these fiber characteristics can lead to discounting and even rejection of cotton at the mills, a better understanding of the cost and benefits of brush stripper harvesting are needed.