As U.S. cotton acres began to increase during the last two years, gin numbers rebounded from an all-time low of 680 in 2009 to 700 gins in 2010. This small three percent increase ends a long-term trend of decreasing gin numbers. However, fewer gin numbers does not mean lower processing capacity. In 1991, just 20 years ago, there were 1,500 gins processing about 11,000 bales per gin. Today, the average number of bales ginned per year increased to an average of 25,000 bales per gin.
All regions of the Cotton Belt have seen a reduction or consolidation of gins. The Mid-South gin numbers have decreased by 35 percent, the West by 32 percent and the Southeast by 21 percent, while the Southwest has only lost 4 percent over the same five-year period. The largest reduction in gin numbers during that five-year period was in Mississippi, Louisiana and California, with a reduction of 37 percent, 31 percent and 30 percent, respectively.
Also, cotton yields have increased dramatically. In 1991, cotton producers were averaging about 650 pounds per acre across the Belt. Now producers average 850 pounds per acre. This helps to reduce cotton production costs and increases the concentration of cotton produced in an area. Today, 22 percent of the gins process more than 40,000 bales per year compared to less than five percent just 20 years ago. Additionally, virtually all cotton is placed in modules and then transported to the gins. Cotton modules and the ability to haul modules over greater distances, have hastened gin consolidation.
Ginners must adapt new technology to stay competitive by using high capacity dryers and gin stands, improved process sensing and control systems and automated bale packaging systems. It seems every year that gins receive a makeover, adding new equipment, modifying existing equipment and adding one thing or another to improve capacity, quality and reduce costs. For this upcoming season, two new gins are being built, while others have been dismantled and moved to other locations to meet the demand.
– Thomas D. Valco, PhD, USDA Cotton Technology Transfer, Stoneville, Miss. Contact him via email at Thomas.email@example.com or call (662) 686-5255. His reports also can be found at www.cottonfarming.com. For more gin data, go to http://msa.ars.usda.gov/gintech.
July 10-13 – Southern/Southeastern, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
July 13 – PCG Board Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
July 18-19 – Southern Ginners Meeting, Little Rock, Ark.
July 19 – Bayer Field Day, Agricenter, Memphis, Tenn.
July 19 – Cotton School graduation, Memphis, Tenn.
July 21 – Field Day, Agricenter, Memphis, Tenn.
July 21 – DREC Field Day, Stoneville, Miss.
Aug. 2-4 – CI/Cotton Board Meeting, Durham, N.C.
Aug. 17 – PCCA Board Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
Aug. 17-18 – ACP/CF Meeting, Corpus Christi, Texas.
Aug. 24-26 – NCC Board Meeting, Santa Fe, N.M.
Sept. 13-14 – Boll Weevil Meeting, Dallas, Texas.
Sept. 14-15 – Pink Bollworm Meeting, Dallas, Texas.
Sept. 21 – Staplcotn Annual Meeting, Greenwood, Miss.
Sept. 26-27 – Calcot Board Meeting, Tempe, Ariz.
Oct. 12 – PCG Quarterly Board Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
Oct. 19 – PCCA Board Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
Nov. 16 – PCCA Board Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
Dec. 6-8 – CI/Cotton Board Meeting, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Dec. 21 – PCCA Board Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.