Cotton gins are running non-stop to get this year's crop ready to be sold. One local gin is using the latest equipment to help South Plains farmers get more cash for their cotton.
Growing cotton is just half the battle. After farmers harvest their crops, it is up to the ginner to help make them worth something. And with the use of this new piece of equipment cotton comes out of the gin faster and looking a lot cleaner.
For West Texas, cotton ginning is an old process that is done same old way each year, but Southwest Cotton Growers in Wellman is changing that with a new piece of equipment. "Ordinarily it all goes in to the gin. We have the same type of equipment in the gin, but this is just an added cleaning at the same time that we are fluffing up the cotton with the cylinders," says Jerry Webb, of Southwest Cotton Growers.
This new innovation is called a module feeder-cleaner and it works like this: a cotton module is brought in and run through a series of grids. So the cotton gets it's first cleaning before it ever reaches the gin.
"We have put a grid system on the back and we'll brush the cotton with cylinders across these grids to get out some of the sand some of the leaf some of the trash before cotton ever enters the gin," says Webb.
The process is new, but Jerry says it's already saving him money and wear and tear on his gin equipment. "We can dry it with less btu's, which means less gas. We can clean it a little better with less load on the motors and it gins better at the gin," says Webb.
Drying cotton at lower temperatures, Jerry says, helps prevent damage saving farmers money, but the equipment also makes ginning faster. Jerry says normally he gins about 30 bales an hour. His new equipment can gin nearly twice as much, and catches twice the attention. "Of all the machinery I've ever put in a gin it seems like this has drawn more interest. We had them looking at it. A lot of them come by and look at it," says Webb.
The only other gin with this new equipment is Southwest Gin in Morton. The grid system was invented by a man named Gene Winn and was just introduced to gins this year. Since this is the first time the equipment is being used, Jerry Webb says they don't know just how much time and money they are saving, but he is expecting the news on that to be very good after ginning season is over.