I was on the phone with a customer from Texas yesterday. He started complaining about how the seed varieties keep getting smaller and smaller. Of course, these "researchers," are not interested in how the gins might have to deal with these, they are only interested in money and turn-out, the gins be damned.
Three years ago, I wrote an article about the problem small seed varieties are causing the gins. Today, based on my conversation with the Texas ginner, it appears the problem is just as bad as ever. In the pursuit of the "all mighty" yield, the seed keeps getting smaller and smaller. Big players like Monsanto and Bayer and others are right in the middle of giving the growers these nuggets and then the gin has to deal with them. The trade off for yield is potentially lower grades due to loss of seed into lint cleaners and motes, and certainly not enough seed in the seed pile outside. At what point are these new varieties "too small" for the gins to handle effectively? I think we are there. Read the blog I wrote 3 years ago, I have attached it here. Also know Vandergriff Inc has made some modifications to help in this area and it tested out well in Australia. So we will continue down this path trying to do our part to help with this issue.
Updated August, 2018.
For at least the last 50 years, many things have come down the pike that have in one way or another affected cotton ginners and the operation of the gin. I use the word "external" in the title because ginners and gin plant owners usually are involved very little in the discussions regarding these changes, but of course they are heavily involved modifying their gins to accommodate them. By now, I think many of you are getting the drift of this, so I won't go into specific details regarding these types of situations that have come the gins way over the years. I have often wondered just how much "gin people" have been brought into this loop when these types of things start to get discussed. Maybe there are some committees or some "superficial" attempts to get ginner input, but one has to wonder just how well is the ginning side of the equation really represented? I have seen some bad scenarios come the gins way that led to very costly modifications. I doubt that the cost was shared in any way, and it fell squarely on the owner or owners of the gin.
Today, there is much R&D and competition among big cotton seed breeders to get seed to the grower and farmer that will significantly increase yield of cotton per acre. We all know who the big players in this game are. While R&D on this side of the equation has done, and continues to do much good, it would not be beneficial to have this research backfire on the other side of the equation and cause the gins difficulty. In order to obtain these types of increased per acre yields, in many cases the seed have become smaller and smaller. When these small seed cannot be extracted from the fiber at the gin stand, or they simply "slip through: the ribs, they pass on through to the lint cleaners. Here, they are ground up and mixed into the lint. This will affect the grade of this fiber in a very negative way. This of course will not be well received by the farmer who wants and expects the best grades possible from the gin. It is important to know that some ginning operations are starting to show concern over these little seed, and their ability to gin it.
Gins that use products of Vandergriff Research, more specifically The Vandergriff Gin rib, have a great deal of success in removing the seed from the fiber during the ginning process. The seed is extracted, cleaned thoroughly and then heads on down the line where it is supposed to go. Over a 21 year period, Vandergriff Ribs have established a sterling reputation in terms of overall performance in the gin stand, and preventing the loss of seed of all seed varieties. The key to our success is unparalleled precision in all critical areas of the rib. Cast ribs can not handle this situation. Foreign made ribs where precision should be paramount, simply falls way short in these critical areas. We want the ginning industry to know that we are closely monitoring this situation related to these new varieties of seed, and will respond to it in regions most affected, should this continue to be a problem. It is important to note and understand, that is possible for the seed to get too small to effectively remove it by any means from the cotton. Hopefully the ginning industry will have a dialogue with seed breeders about this important issue and monitor it closely, just as we are. The ginning industry is to be commended for the way it has responded to all the challenges that have come its way over the years and will continue to try and meet all new challenges that come its way in the future. We are proud to be a part of that.
If you are having trouble with little seed, let Chris Nachtmann or Loyd know when you call to talk about ordering ribs. We can discuss making some modifications for you that will give you some help in dealing with this serious issue.
Updated February 4th, 2020
Loyd personally writes the blogs and provides updates on what is going on with Vandy Inc and the industry in general.