The National Cotton Ginners’ Association (NCGA), working in conjunction with Tommy Valco, USDA’s cotton technology transfer coordinator, and the three USDA Ginning Laboratories, continues to offer timely topics in the continuing education (CE) courses offered at the gin schools.
There has been a concerted effort to choose issues that appeal to a wider audience in order to include topics that will benefit not only certified ginners but also gin managers and superintendents. It is important that both the hands-on ginners and management stay abreast of the latest technology and issues facing the industry.
One extremely important topic that will be covered at the three schools is contamination prevention.
The United States has maintained a reputation as having contamination-free cotton – a distinction that often gives U.S. cotton an edge over the competition. This past year, plastic contamination became a focal point when U.S. mills began sending notifications that they were discovering foreign materials, more specifically, types of plastic film contaminants, in their laydowns. It has been determined that this contamination was coming from several sources, which include black plastic sheeting used in vegetable production and ditch liners, and the wrap used on round modules.
While some plastic contaminants that are picked up in the field during harvesting may be out of the ginner’s control, plastic module wrap is a different matter. This past fall, National Cotton Council and USDA staff made a number of visits to gins using a variety of – from very simple to elaborate – methods to remove the round module wrap.
Additionally, Rick Byler, a researcher at the Stoneville Gin Lab, recently ran varying types and sizes of plastic film, along with cotton, through the micro gin. The test’s purpose was to determine the effect that each machine had on the plastic and which machines were the most efficient at removing the plastic from the cotton. Byler will make a presentation on his findings at the school.
With the likelihood that the John Deere round module system will continue to gain popularity in Texas, emphasis on the proper handling and removal of the wrap will be discussed.
Other CE topics will include Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC); automated bagging, strapping and tying systems; a discussion on gin equipment adjustments with a special emphasis on prevent lint loss; a presentation on important research being conducted and an update from gin equipment suppliers. The two-day (CE) course will begin Monday morning and conclude Tuesday afternoon.
To register for any of the schools, interested parties can go to http://www.cotton.org/ncga/ginschool/index.cfm.
There also is a wealth of information on NCGA’s Web site, http://www.cotton.org/ncga. Visitors to the site can find safety materials, the ginner’s labor guide and current issues as well as important historical, technical and quality data. The password to access the Members Only section of the NCC’s Web site also will work for the NCGA’s Web site.
Dates for Gin Schools This Year:
• Southwest Ginners School, Lubbock, Texas – April 1-3.
• Western Ginners School, Las Cruces, N.M. – May 7-9.
• Stoneville Ginners School, Stoneville, Miss. – June 4-6.