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Module averaging could add millions to value of U.S. cotton

Adoption of module averaging for all cotton classed in the U.S. could offer a number of advantages, including millions of dollars in additional value, according to studies by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.

The voluntary program has been offered to all customers since 1991 at no additional charge. Module averaging was first implemented from a recommendation by the Secretary of Agriculture’s Advisory Committee on Cotton Marketing as a way to reduce variability associated with strength, says Keith Maloney, area director of the USDA/AMS Cotton Classing Office at Dumas, Ark.

He and David Rowland, assistant area director, have been making presentations at the annual district meetings of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association. The Dumas office classes cotton from Mississippi and Arkansas.

Module averaging was expanded in 1992 to include other fiber characteristics.

For a given module, all individual HVI measurements for length, strength, length uniformity, and micronaire are taken. The average for each of these quality features is assigned to all of the bales within the module.

The method is based on the concept that all cotton within a module or trailer is well-blended by the time it is baled and sampled. USDA studies have shown that variability within a module is not significantly different than variability within a bale.

“The averages of measurements of length, strength, length uniformity, and micronaire provide a sound statistical representation of each of the bale’s individual measurements,” Maloney says. “We will continue to increase module averaging within the cotton program.”

Across total upland cotton average for 2012, module average versus double run quality assurance measurements showed 88 percent repeatability for micronaire, 93 percent for strength, 92 percent for length, and 94 percent for length uniformity. All were higher than for single bale test versus double run quality assurance measures (86 percent for micronaire, 79 percent for strength, 80 percent for length, and 80 percent for length uniformity).

At four different gins that were monitored, points were gained in every category by module averaging.  The total value gain for 79,727 bales module averaged at the four gins was $44,967.20.

For 4,219,010 bales module averaged in the U.S. crop, value gained was $2,044,458.26.

Applying the economic impact of module averaging to the entire crop of 15,329,837 bales classed at all classing offices would have resulted in an estimated value gain of $8,124,323.58.

“Benefits of module averaging include data accuracy and reliability and positive economic value,” Maloney says. “Module averaging is more accurate than the single bale test, stands up to retesting upon delivery, holds up against scrutiny and challenge, provides added confidence to spinners in laydowns, and is more reliable months later.

“Studies each year by the cotton program have shown an overall positive economic result for module averaging, along with possible benefits in storing, staging, and shipping bales.”

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