The new ginning facility for the Lubbock Cotton Growers (LCG) Coop Gin, that began operation at the end of October, is the largest new gin installation in the world for 2009. The influx of more picker varieties in the High Plains and the success of the boll weevil program mean much higher yields are being produced in that region than in past years. According to Rex Kennedy, LCG’s board president, the group of farmers who belonged to the old facility, for example, has the potential to produce more than 100,000 bales just among themselves.
“At the older plant, bringing in much more than 60,000 bales stretches out the season, which causes farmers to have to wait to get their cotton ginned, leaves modules out in the weather longer and is hard on the gin manager and the gin help,” Kennedy says.
Something had to be done to improve the situation, but the decision to build a new, larger facility to accommodate all of this cotton was not a hasty one.
Condensed Ginning Season
The first option under consideration was to buy a used gin. Kennedy, LCG gin manager Jerry Butman and several other members of the coop traveled to California, Arkansas and Missouri to look at facilities in those areas. After determining that a new plant would offer more efficiency, Lummus Corporation worked with the group to construct the all-new LCG Coop Gin as a turn-key project, featuring state-of-the-art equipment.
The new gin plant initially is set up to gin 90 bales per hour, which translates to a target of 1,500 bales per day. By increasing the daily output, LCG can decrease its per-bale labor cost and electrical and gas consumption cost at the same time. From a gin manager’s standpoint, Butman says that the new facility is larger, so he will have to hire a few more employees to keep the gin running smoothly.
“However,” he says, “we will be ginning fewer days, which will offset the labor costs. The condensed season also will benefit our producers by giving them the chance to take advantage of marketing opportunities that come along. Even though we are in a pool, it’s hard to sell cotton in March that’s sitting in a module vs. a bale.”
Bottom Line Is Efficiency
When asked about the technical aspects of the equipment, Russell Sutton, Lummus Corporation V.P. of domestic sales and project manager, says the gin line itself is special because it features the largest gin stand on the market with 222 saws being driven by 250 horsepower.
“The technology of closer-spaced saws provides increased capacity as well as better cleaning of the seed and turnout,” he explains. “We also installed tandem Sentinel II lint cleaners behind each stand that incorporate the updates Lummus made about a year ago, which further improved their performance and excellent lint cleaning efficiency, while minimizing fiber damage.”
Sutton also notes that the Lubbock gin is a six “less 1” layout that gives the customer the ability to grow into a full six-stand plant. The facility is laid out for additional overhead cleaning and an additional gin line and lint-cleaning group to be installed at a later date to expand the capacity of the plant.
And what is the customer reaction to this new High Plains’ landmark? “We had a meeting before we ever started this project, and every producer and landlord who was there voted unanimously to move forward,” Butman says.
“We don’t have a crystal ball to predict what the government programs will look like in the future, but based on our history, economically in West Texas there is not a better crop right now than cotton,” Kennedy adds. “And, again, with the size plant that we have built, if we have good years and are ginning between 80,000 and 100,000 bales, that’s when this gin is really going to shine.”
Contact Carroll Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or (901) 767-4020.