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LOGO: Journal of Cotton Science


The Classification of Cotton

Authors: Christopher D. Delhom, James Knowlton, Vikki B. Martin, and Cody Blake
Pages: 189-196
Engineering and Ginning
DOI: (

Cotton classification is the process of using official standards and standardized procedures to measure the physical attributes of raw cotton. The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) classes essentially all cotton grown in the U.S. Samples are collected from each bale at the gin or warehouse for classing at one of 10 AMS classing offices. Automated instrumentation is used to assess fiber length, length uniformity, strength, color, micronaire, and non-lint content. Automation has allowed AMS to continue classing cotton efficiently as crop size has expanded. A human classer examines every classing sample to determine if there is any extraneous matter present that would alter the value of the bale. Classing results are matched with a permanent bale identification number that is assigned to each bale at the time of sampling. This identification number allows the bale to be identified throughout the supply chain, from packaging of the bale at the gin through consumption on the textile mill floor.