Additional Information & Definitions

The current Joint Cotton Industry Bale Packaging Committee (JCIBPC) specifications for cotton bale packaging materials (specs) are presented on this page using the section by section outline format that characterizes the body of the specs. The introductory pages from the current specs appear above the body of the specs. Each linked section from the specs is presented in a portable document format (PDF) that can be easily downloaded and printed.

Preface, Summary of Meeting and Carryover
Test Program Review
Additional Information
Recommended Patching Materials

1.1. General Requirements

1.2. Approved Materials
1.2.1. Cold Rolled High Tensile Steel Strapping
1.2.2. Wire Ties
1.2.3. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) Plastic Strapping for Use on Gin Standard and Gin Universal Density Bales

2.1. General Requirements

2.2. Approved Materials
2.2.1. Cotton Bagging
2.2.2. Polyethylene (PE) Film Bagging
2.2.3. Polypropylene Bagging
2.2.4. Polyethylene Woven Bagging

3.1. Tare Weights
3.2. Tie and Bag Codes

4.1. Certificate of Analysis
4.2. Approved List

These specifications are arranged in two major sections: bale ties and bagging. Each of these sections is further divided into general requirements and approved materials. Specifications for each approved material may be found by using the table of contents.

In addition, test methods applicable to each material are included within each material section. Also included are references to the various test procedures listed below:

 ASTM A510
 ASTM A938
 ASTM D1709 Method A, aluminum
 ASTM D374
 ASTM D737
 ASTM D751
 ASTM D882
 ASTM D1776
 ASTM D1894
 ASTM D2594E
 ASTM D3218
 ASTM D1922
 ASTM D3950
 ASTM D3887
 ASTM D6247
 ASTM D6953
 ASTM D3776
 ASTM D5035
 ASTM G153
 ASTM G155 Cycle 1
ASTM International (originally known as American Society for Testing and Materials) procedures may be obtained by contacting: ASTM, 100 Barr Harbor Drive, West Conshohocken, PA  19428-2959; Phone: (610) 832-2959; website:

For further information concerning these specifications contact: JCIBPC, PO Box 2995, Cordova, TN 38088; Phone: (901) 274-9030; fax: (901) 725-0510; email:


These definitions apply only for use with these specifications.

Bale Density: A unit of measurement of weight per unit volume normally expressed as pounds per cubic foot. Density is calculated by dividing the net bale weight by the bale volume in cubic feet. Volume is determined by multiplying bale length, width and thickness dimensions expressed in feet. Thickness is determined by measuring from tie to tie across the crown of the bale.

Gin  Universal Density (UD): Bale compressed at the gin to a density of at least 28 pounds per cubic foot. (Bale must be tied with strapping or wire as defined under Section 1.1 and 1.2).

Panel: Rectangular sheet of fabric; refers to top sheet in bag and panel combination of cotton, or woven polypropylene for use on gin universal bales.

Spiral-Sewn Bag: Woven bag from cotton, polypropylene or polyethylene. Fabric is sewn on a bias resulting in a tube with the seam spiraling around the bale circumference. After application, bale ties are under bagging.

Gusseted Bag: Woven bag from polypropylene or polyethylene. Fabric is seamed resulting in a tube with the seam running parallel to the edges of the tube. Opposite edges of the tube are folded inwardly to form two V-shaped sections between the front and back faces of the tube. The bottom seam of the bag is sewn through 4 layers of fabric in the gusset areas. The gussets create a rectangular-shaped mouth for filling and a rectangular bottom in the filled bag. After application, bale ties are under bagging.

Bag and Panel Combination: Bale cover fabrication applied on the gin press and used in combination with a top panel. After application, bagging is under bale ties.

Wire: Slender metal rods of round, ovalized or waisted cross section applied to restrain cotton bales after compression.

Wire Gauge: Unless stated otherwise, wire gauge nomenclature is consistent with ASTM A510 or US Steel Wire Gage System (USSWG) as referenced by American Institute of Steel Construction.

Round Wire: Steel material having a circular cross-sectional area applied to restrain cotton bales after compression.

Ovalized Wire: Steel material having a cross section slightly modified from a circular cross section applied to restrain cotton bales after compression. There is no significant difference (minus 5% tolerance) in cross-sectional areas between round wire and ovalized wire. The linear densities (weight per foot of wire) of ovalized and round wires are equal.

Waisted Wire: Steel material having a reduced cross-sectional area between the joint portions and a non-reduced, round cross section in the portion that the joints are formed. The linear density of waisted wire is lower than that of round wire.

Recessed Wire: Bale tie recesses describe grooves, indentions or notches created in the flat or "hard" sides of the cotton bale, located such that when bale tie materials are applied, ties (wires or bands) lie within the depth of the recess; recesses are sufficiently deep so that ties are protected from normal handling impacts with floors, lift truck handling devices and other bales; in addition to minimizing handling stresses on bale ties, recesses are intended to reduce tearing and cutting of bagging normally associated with shearing action of ties on bagging; exact width and depth dimensions are not specified, except that grooves should be sufficiently wide to accommodate the width of band or wire tie and sufficiently deep so that the tie does not extend beyond the outside plane of the bale surface.

Strapping: High tensile steel or PET plastic material having a flattened, rectangular cross section applied to restrain cotton bales after compression.

Importer: Person or persons in United States who clear product through U.S. Customs Service.  

USMCA Country: Country included in The United States Mexico Canada Agreement.

Certificate of Analysis (COA): Reporting requirement adopted by the JCIBPC to insure packaging materials offered for sale conform to the applicable published specifications.

PET Woven Bag: Circular woven bag from Polyethylene Terephthalate tapes. The tapes, a minimum of 8 warp yarns per inch and a minimum of 10 crammed weft (filling) yarns per inch, provide enough strength to the fabric to serve as the bale

Crammed: The process of folding and pushing together circular woven PET weft tapes to allow for a tighter weave and more tapes per inch of woven fabric. 

vThe following definitions: 1) Compress UD (2017), 2) Compress SD (2017), and 3) Flat/Modified Flat (2017), 4) Slip Seal (2020), 5) Fixed Seal (2020), and 6) Triple Notch (2020), 7) Universal Density (2023), 8) Standard Density (2023), and 9) Gin SD (2023) are no longer included in the “Definitions” section because the bale descriptions were removed from the Specifications.