The NCC is urging ginners to help in an industry-wide contamination prevention effort at their gins and by urging their farmers to increase their inspection for potential seed cotton contaminants.

In an email bulletin to more than 600 gins and ginner interest organizations, NCC President/CEO Mark Lange stated, “Even though U.S. cotton still is considered one of the least contaminated growths, the U.S. cotton industry must be diligent if it wants to maintain that status. I ask you to carefully review the procedures you have in place to detect and prevent contamination from entering baled cotton lint from all sources, particularly plastic contaminants. Of greatest concern, based on recent reports from multiple domestic spinners, are pieces of black plastic polyethylene film, red polypropylene twine, and yellow plastic film used to wrap round modules. While plastic contamination from any source and in any color should be of concern, these three types of contamination seem to be most prevalent in the 2011 crop.”

The bulletin urges ginners to ask their farmers to: 1) inspect fields prior to harvest for foreign materials that could easily be picked up by harvesting equipment, 2) remove foreign materials such as twine, ditch liners, field mulch, shopping bags and related plastics from their fields before harvest, and 3) inspect harvest equipment daily for plastic contaminants.

“It is very important that you also alert your gin employees to be watchful for all foreign materials in and around the gin,” Lange said. “If seen, have the materials collected and removed to prevent them from entering the ginning stream. Please train your employees working at the module feeder and suck pipe to make sure module covers and wraps are safely and completely removed prior to ginning. This includes the complete removal of materials used to secure covers to conventional modules.”

The bulletin noted that when handling round modules, it is particularly important that John Deere’s wrap removal recommendations be followed so that the wrap remains in one piece upon removal. If cut in the wrong location, a piece of the inner, non-adhesive wrap end may be separated from the rest of the wrap and remain within the seed cotton. Deere has produced several publications on the proper care of round modules, including: handling in the field, transporting to the gin and delivering them to the gin feeder. These written publications, along with a poster that includes a diagram showing the proper location for cutting module wrap, can be found on the NCC’s website at www.cotton.org/tech/quality/round-module-handling.cfm.

More contamination prevention information is on the NCC Quality Preservation web page at www.cotton.org/tech/quality/index.cfm, including the recent NCC-authored “Striving for Zero Tolerance” column in Cotton Farming magazine’s current issue.

In response to the bulletin, National Cotton Ginners’ Assoc. President Lee Tiller said, “the U.S. cotton industry has made great strides in eliminating contamination and the U.S. has a reputation of having contamination free cotton. It is imperative that we continue educational efforts that ensure we maintain this distinction.”