Ginning for Maximum Value with Decoupling: How Much Cleaning Is Needed?

Mark M. Borba


Cotton ginners strive to produce baled cotton which maximizes grower value. Spinners seek-out high quality raw cotton which: (1) runs efficiently in their plants, and (2) hopefully results in superior quality end-products. However, past spinner communications with growers and ginners defining maximum acceptable/optimum leaf content have often been vague and resulted in non-economic discounts for producers. However, the separation of grade and leaf in the USDA classing system beginning in 1993 provided an opportunity for collaborative efforts among growers, ginners, and spinners to both more clearly define, and to price for the first time the individual components of color and leaf. Importantly, progressive spinners have begun re-evaluating past ginning processes which simply minimized leaf content, as AFIS testing of their incoming raw cotton (measuring neps; length-diameter & short-fiber-content; and trash content & size distribution) confirmed that "normally-processed" cleaner cottons do not necessarily translate into either mill efficiency nor superior textiles. While this is a positive first step in enhancing market orientation of our classing and pricing systems, clear and effective communications among growers, ginners and spinners describing true-maximum-value of raw cotton is still lacking. Further, until both the USDA Loan and free-market pricing mechanisms incorporate true-spinner-value into their pricing formulas, conflicting signals will continue to confuse producers, plague ginners, and hinder spinners' ability to maximize efficiency within their plants.

Reprinted from Proceedings of the 1994 Beltwide Cotton Conferences pp. 168 - 169
©National Cotton Council, Memphis TN

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Document last modified Sunday, Dec 6 1998