Its something we’ve talked about for years and something that we all need to strive for. In a recent AgWeb Article, the author talks about Seven Steps to Contamination Free cotton. The article is geared toward producers and I hope you will share it with your producers. There are, of course, a few more things you can do around the gin to prevent contamination from entering the lint stream.
The first and best line of defense is at the module feeder. Any and all employees in the gin should know what contamination is and how important it is to keep these things from getting in to the gin. Plastics, twine, rope, and module tarps are just a few of the things that need to be watched for and kept out of the gin. Cutting the string that holds the module tarp on and leaving pieces in the module can be a real issue. Not getting plastic off or rounds completely is another topic worth of an entire article.
Hydraulic leaks on the press or oils and greases anywhere in the gin is another issue we hear occasionally from mills. Oils are a nearly instant rejection. Even if the oil is on the outside of the bagging, you are setting yourself up for a lot of pain so work with your warehouse to make sure they address those issues as well with good lift truck maintenance.
The importance of staying vigilant against contamination cannot be overstressed. US cotton is still considered a preferred growth, and our relative lack of contamination is a big part of that. We must continue to keep non-cotton out of the bales if at all possible.