The U.S. cotton industry is dedicated to supplying the world with the highest quality fiber available in the international market. The industry’s significant investment in new technology, educational programs and implementation of stringent industry standards demonstrates that dedication to excellence. U.S. research and development programs are second to none.
The majority of U.S. cotton is harvested in the fall months. Once harvested, the lint must be separated from the seed in order for the fiber to be used by textile mills. This process is known as ginning and it can have a tremendous impact on the quality of the fiber, which in turn can effect the quality of the yarn, fabrics and ultimately garments made with this fiber.
The United States spends a lot of research time and dollars studying and improving the ginning process. In the United States, new gin technology is the result of vast scientific knowledge and research. U.S. gins play an important part in the adoption of emerging technologies. Field tests are conducted in cooperation with the public research community and commercial suppliers focusing on improving fiber quality, employee safety and process efficiency, while reducing the impact on the environment.
Three U.S. federal ginning laboratories conduct research which results in technology development and process recommendation to optimize fiber quality. Highlights of the most recent and significant research developments from the ginning laboratories include:
-controls the cotton ginning process to optimize grower monetary returns and mill fiber quality.
-removes trash comparable to two stages of saw type lint cleaning but with fewer short fibers and fewer neps. The cleaner is a financially accessible technology that can be retrofit to any modern gin stand.
-uses a slow-speed, perforated conveying belt to slowly dry the cotton and preserve the fiber quality.
U.S. gins are vertically integrated, providing gin processing, bale warehousing, lint and cottonseed marketing and crop input sales and application. The gins focus on improving fiber quality to increase the value of U.S. cotton for consumers. U.S. cotton industry’s Quality Task Force oversees quality measurement improvement and the removal of financial disincentives that hinder higher quality to ensure that improvements in the U.S. cotton ginning process are ongoing.