.3ACr ...-, '" / I7
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Bureau of Agricultural Economics
Division of Cotton Marketing
SAMPLING AMERICAN COTTON
Prevailing Practices and Some Factors Affecting
Representativeness of Samples
By Sam W. Martin, Associate Agricultural Economist,
and Florena Cleaves, Junior Marketing Specialist
Washington, D. C.
SAMPLING AMERICAN COTTON
Prevailing Practices and Some Factors Affecting Representativeness of Samples
By Sam W. Martin, Associate Agricultural Economist, and
Florena Cleaves, Junior Marketing Specialist,
Division of Cotton Marketing j_/
Procedure in gathering data............ 2
Types of cotton samples.................... 3
Plugged sample.................................. 3
Sample cut on one edge only ........ 15
Sample pulled from the bale
with a cotton hook.................... 15
Sample pulled from the bale
by hand.......................................... 16
Factors affecting representa-
tiveness of sample.......................... 16
Ginning and baling.................... 17
Drawing the sample.................... 23
Factors affecting representative-
ness of sample (continued):
Patch ing.............................................. 27
Trimming the sample ........................ 27
Rolling the sample .......................... 27
Handling, packing, and care
of samples ...................................... 30
Summary and conclusions ........................ 32
Extracts from State laws relat-
ing to false packing of
co t ton ............... ................................... 36
Reliable classification of cotton requires that samples be adequately
representative of the bales from which they are drawn. The manner of drawing
the sample and other factors affecting its representativeness deserve more
consideration than they have received. The importance of a properly drawn
sample is too little recognized either by the one who draws the sample or by
those who handle it before it is used as the basis of classification. This
report presents information assembled through a recent study of various meth-
ods of sampling cotton in the United States and of closely related practices
insofar as they are associated with representativeness of the samples drawn.
It is known that disparities can and do occur in the classification
of samples from the same bales of cotton by different classes. As presum-
ably such disparities may be due in part to differences in samples, this
study was made by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics to obtain information
I/ This study was made under the direct supervision of W. B. Lanham, leader
of the Grade and Staple Statistics Section of the Division of Cotton Market-
ing. Special credit is due to Arthur W. Palmer, formerly in charge of the
Division of Cotton Marketing, who, in addition to general supervision, con-
tributed helpful suggestions.
concerning the influence of different methods of sampling cotton and of close-
ly associated practices on the representativeness of samples drawn. The study
has furnished information also for use in making effective the provisions of
Public Resolution 73, 72nd Congress, approved March 4, 1933, enacted "to au-
thorize and direct the Secretary of Agriculture to provide additional facilities
for the classification of cotton under the United States Cotton Futures Act."
The study was based on a survey of sampling methods employed in all of
the cotton-producing States except Arizona, California, Florida, Kentucky, New
Mexico, and Oklahoma. With the time and funds available, it was not possible
to include these States in the survey, but there is no reason to suppose that
sampling practices prevailing in these States differ sufficiently from those
employed in other cotton-growing States to affect materially the usefulness of
the information obtained.
Consideration was given not only to the different methods of drawing
samples from cotton bales and the distinguishing characteristics of the dif-
ferent types of samples, but also to (a) ginning and baling practices that
affect representativeness of samples, such as plating of bales at the gin,
and (b) handling of samples after they are drawn, such as trimming, rolling,
and packing. These factors have an important bearing upon the proper class-
ification of cotton bales. It is possible that comparison of the different
methods of sampling employed in the different parts of the country, and of
handling and caring for them after they have been drawn, might lead to bet-
ter and more uniform practices.
Procedure in GatherinK Data
For the purpose of obtaining data regarding methods of sampling and re-
lated practices, 148 compresses and warehouses, 161 cotton buyers, and a large
number of winners were visited in various parts of the Cotton Belt. To obtain
information on ginning practices affecting representativeness of samples, a
number of gin-manufacturing companies, ginners, and the experimental cotton
ginning laboratory of the United States Department of Agriculture at Stone-
ville. Miss., were also visited. The compresses and other establishments vis-
ited and the ginners and buyers interviewed were designated by officials in
charge of the several field offices of the Grade and Staple Statistics Section
of the Bureau as mcst likely to furnish a representative body of data. No at-
tempt was made to provide for weighting the data obtained on the basis of cot-
ton handled by the compressmen, warehousemen, buyers, and ginners interviewed
as compared with total cotton compressed, stored, sold, or ginned in the var-
ious States. Care was taken, however, to include in the survey all types and
sizes of agencies performing the services indicated. Inasmuch as a large part
of the cotton handled in each State is represented by the agencies from whom
information was obtained and in view of the comparatively narrow range in sam-
pling practices within individual States, it seems unlikely that the results
of the inquiry would have been materially different if a more comprehensive
survey had been made.
Types of Cotton Samples
Different methods of drawing samples are employed in different parts
of the Cotton Belt. Four more or less distinct sampling practices are here
discussed, and the outstanding characteristics of the four resulting types
of samples are set forth (figs. 1 to 8), namely, (1) the "plugged" sample,
(2) the sample that is cut on one edge only, (3) the sample that is pulled
from the bale with a cotton hook, and (4) the sample that is pulled from the
bale by hand. 2/ As hereafter explained, in drawing samples numbered (1) and
(2), the sampler cuts into the bale itself, whereas in drawing samples num-
bered (3) and (4), the bagging only is cut preparatory to drawing the sample.
(Samples used as a basis of reports issued by the United States Department of
Agriculture on grade and staple length of cotton ginned, are press-box samples
taken from about the center of the bale before it is wrapped and tied. This
study was limited to the four types of samples at present employed in the usu-
al marketing practice.)
Plugged Sample.- When a flat, or uncompressed, bale of cotton is pre-
sented to the sampler for drawing a "plugged", or blocked, sample, he makes
two smooth, straight cuts into the bale--about 16 inches long, 6 inches apart.
and 2 inches deep (fig. 9). For making these cuts the sampler uses a very
sharp knife, about 10 inches long, the curved cutting edge of which he keeps
sharp by the frequent use of a carborundum rock or other substance suitable
for whetting (fig. 10). An experienced sampler will make each cut at a single
stroke, the two requiring about 6 seconds. Another stroke severs the bagging
at one end, and the sample is then grasped firmly, usually in both hands, and
pulled from the bale, care being taken to disturb the edges and the layers of
fiber as little as possible. This sample is usually laid on the bale with the
outside surface down, and another sample is similarly drawn from the other
side of the bale. The same procedure is followed in drawing a plugged sample
from a high-density or a standard-density bale except that the two smooth cuts
are usually made from 3/4 inch to 1 inch deep and parallel to and very close
to the inside edges of two adjacent bands. A sample drawn in this way is neat
in appearance and very compact (figs. 1 and 2).
After the two portions of the sample have been drawn, it is customary
to place an identifying coupon between them, and they are then rolled together
and either wrapped in paper or placed in a basket, a box; or a sack.
Table 1 shows that the practice of sampling bales of cotton by plugging
is employed in the States of Texas, Alabama, and Louisiana. At only 4.3 per-
cent of the compresses and warehouses visited in Texas was this method of
drawing samples employed exclusively, but it was employed to some extent at
almost one-third of them and at more than one-tenth of the 148 compresses and
warehouses visited in the United States. Although no means of weighting these
data on the basis of volume of bales sampled is available, it was observed
during the survey that plugging is the most popular method of sampling at sev-
eral of the large cotton warehouses and compresses in Texas, and that the use
of this method of sampling is increasing. It seems probable that considerably
more than one-third of the Texas crop is so sampled.
2/ Samples from flat and compressed bales only. Samples are usually drawn
from round bales with an augur.
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FIGURE I,- CUT EDGES OF PLUGGED COTTON SAMPLE FROM COMPRESSED BALE. NOTE THE
SMOOTHNESS OF THE LAYERS OF COTTON IN THAT PART OF THE COMBINED SAMPLE SHOWN AT THE
BOTTOM, WHICH IS FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE BALE, AS COMPARED WITH THE OTHER PART OF
THE SAMPLE, WHICH IS FROM THE TOP OF THE BALE.
FIGURE 2.- OUTSIDE SURFACE OF PLUGGED COTTON SAMPLE FROM COMPRESSED BALE.
SAMPLES DRAWN BY PLUGGING ARE COMPACT AND NEAT IN APPEARANCE.
FIGURE 3.- EDGES Of COTTON SAMPLE DRAWN FROM COMPRESSED BALE BY CUTTING ONE
EDGE ONLY. THE OPPOSITE EDGES OF THE SAMPLE ARC SHOWN. THE LAYERS OF COTTON ON
THE CUT EDGE HAVE BEEN DISTURBED VERY LITTLE.
FIGURE 4.- O-UTSIDE SURFACE OF COTTON SAMPLE DRAWN FROM COMPRESSED BALE AFTER
CUTTING ONE EDGE ONLY. NOTE THE CRESCENT SHAPE OF THE CUT EDGE.
i- ,^ 's.^ ,,
,- -" N4'
U ~& d
-- R -p :
FIGURE 5.- SIDE OF COTTON SAMPLE PULLED FROM COMPRESSED BALE WITH A HOOK AFTER
BAGGING ONLY HAS BEEN CUT. THE INFLUENCE OF THE HOOK IS SEEN IN THE UNEVENNESS OF
LAYERS AND THE ROUGH APPEARANCE OF THF SAMPLE.
t _.M ,'
FIGcuRE 6.- OUTSIDE ufrtvci or COTTON SAMPLE PULLED FROM COMPRESSED BALE WITH A
HOOK AFTER BEGGING ONLY HAS BEEN CUT. THE HOOKED SAMPLE IS USUALLY IRREGULAR IN
SHAPE WITH IRREGULAR ED
FIGURE 7.- SIDE OF
BAGGING ONLY HAS BEEN
COTTON SAMPLE PULLED FROM
CUT. THE LAYERS OF COTTON
COMPRESSED BALE BY HAND
IN THIS SAMPLE HAVE BEEN
FIGURE 8.- OUTSIDE SURFACE OF COTTON SAMPLE PULLED FROM COMPRESSED SALE BY HAND
AFTER 2AGGIlG ONLY MA$ SEEN CUT. TuE SAMPLE PULLED BY HAND IS THE SMALLEST OF THE
FOUR TYPES OF SAMPLES ILLUSTRATED.
FIGURE 9.- CUTTING A PLUGGED COTTON SAMPLE FROM A HIGH-
DENSITY BALE. NOTE THE POSITION OF THE SAMPLER'S HANDS
WHILE CUTTING THE EDGES. A NEAT SAMPLE OF GOOD WIDTH AND
OF UNIFORM WIDTH CAN BE DRAWN FROM THE BALE AFTER CUTTING
f : ,o *
-,. ^ ^ ^^.' .,."
FIGURE 10.- KNIFE USED IN SAMPLING COTTON, CARBORUNDUM
ROCK USED FOR SHARPENING KNIFE, AND COTTON HOOK.
- 14 -
Table 1. Number and percentage of compresses and warehouses visited where specified
types of samples were drawn from cotton bales, by States, 1933
Plugged one edge
Pulled or cut or pulled
by hand on one with a
only edge l/ cotton
Num- Per- Num- Perf Num- I Per-
ber cent her cent her cent
Ie I I I
4-L_ 31.1 _15 _1011|5 3.4
3 23.11 1 7.71 0
0 -----! 0 ---- 0
17 74.0 0 ---- 0
0 --- 1 7.11 2 114.3
1 14.3 0 ---- 0 ---
0 ---- 0 -- --
12 100.0 0 ---- 0 ---
10 90.9 0 --- 0 --
1 16.7 0 --- 1 16.71
0 ---- 13 28.31 2 4.3
2 1100.0 0 1---- 0 --
I I I
with a Pulled
cotton with a
hook or cotton
pulled hook or
_!y hand plugged
Num- IPQh Num_ Per-
bher cn! ber cent
-10 o _6__ I 1 I 0..7
3 23.11 0 ----
S 0 0 --
3 13.0 0 ---
0 --- 1 7.1
2 28.6 0 -
0 -- 0
0 --- 0 I---
2 33.3 0 --
0 --- 0 --
1/ Mostly plugged.
l/ Mostly plugged.
- 15 -
Sample Cut on One Edge Only.- When a sample is drawn after cutting one
edge with a knife, the procedure is as follows. With the same kind of knife
as that used when plugging samples, a cut 12 to 16 inches long, usually de-
scribing a crescent, is made in the bale, the horns of the crescent pointing
toward either the top or the bottom end of the bale. The depth of the cut,
which should be made at one stroke of the knife, is usually about 1-1/2 inches
on flat bales and 3/4 inch to 1-1/2 inches on standard-density and high-density
bales. The cut edge is then grasped firmly, and the sample is pulled from the
bale. The cut edge remains comparatively undisturbed and smooth, but the edge
pulled loose from the bale is rough and somewhat irregular (figs. 3 and 4). A
similar sample is drawn from the other side of the bale, and both samples are
trimmed. One of the identifying coupons is then removed from the tag on the
bale and placed between the two samples, after which they are rolled or wrapped
and disposed of in the same way as described for plugged samples.
No loss in weight due to loss of bagging occurs when this method of sam-
pling is employed. As a sample cannot be pulled so close to the bands as it
can be cut, this type of sample is not so wide as the plugged sample. One
point in favor of so cutting the sample that the horns of the crescent point
toward the top end of the bale is that, so long as the bale remains in that
position, the portion of the bagging so cut will naturally fall down over the
sample hole and cover the opening; whereas, if the horns of the crescent point
toward the bottom end of the bale, the bagging that covered the sample will
fall down and leave the sample hole open and, in addition, will be in the way
if a sample from between the next two bands below the sample hole is desired.
The use of the knife on only one edge of the sample is the predominant
method of sampling at the compresses visited in Texas. Other States in which
this method is used are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, and Tennessee.
It is the method employed exclusively at 22 percent of all the compresses and
warehouses visited in the United States (table 1).
Sample Pulled from the Bale with a Cotton Hook.- The cotton hook used
in obtaining a sample from a bale consists of a cylindrical handle about 6
inches long, usually made of wood, and a steel rod that passes perpendicularly
through the handle at the center and extends about 6 to 8 inches, the pointed
end curving into a half circle (fig. 10). In drawing this type of sample, the
sampler first uses the knife, making a cut from 12 to 16 inches long, often
through the bagging only. The hook is then used to dig into the bale and pull
the fibers loose. In doing this, the hook is placed parallel to a band and as
near as possible to it. This action may be repeated for pulling the other
edge of the sample loose from the bale, or the hook may be discarded after the
first edge is loosened and the hands used instead to pull the sample from the
bale. The operation of drawing a sample with the hook requires practically
the same time as is required by other methods.
A sample that has been pulled with the aid of a hook has rough, irreg-
ular edges that show comparatively little trash (figs. 5 and 6). The layers
of cotton are not so compact as are the layers in the plugged sample, for
they have been ruffled up by the hook, and this sample cannot be so wide as
the sample that is plugged.
Of the 148 compresses and warehouses visited in the Cotton Belt, 24
percent reported the use of a hook to draw their samples, and this method
was used to some extent in all States except North Carolina and Virginia
Sample Pulled from the Bale by Hand.- Much cotton is sampled by pull-
ing the sample from the bale by hand. A knife is first used to cut the bag-
ging, the cut being made in the shape of a crescent or a rectangle or in
a sLraight line. No effort is made to cut into the fibers of the bale, the
fingers being used to grapple and pull the layers of cotton loose along one
edge of the sample, after which it is grasped, with the hands parallel to
the bands, and pulled from the bale. Each grapple ruffles up the cotton
on the edge of the sample, disturbing and possibly dislodging and losing
some of the trash.
The edges of the hand-drawn sample look rough, and the sample is not
so smooth as are the plugged samples (compare figs. 7 and 8 with figs. 1 and
2). The hand-pulled sample is more likely to have a waddy appearance, and
the chance of breaking the sample in two across the layers is greater with
this method than with any other. On the average, the hand-pulled sample
is the smallest and thinnest of the four types.
The ports visited where samples were taken by hand are Norfolk, Va.,
Mobile, Ala., and Savannah. Ga. In Mobile, however, hand-drawn samples are
an exception rather than the rule. At one compress in Mobile, hand-drawn
samples were taken from flat bales only occasionally, the hook being used
on compressed bales. Samples were drawn by hand exclusively at establish-
ments visited in the States of North Carolina and Virginia (table 1); and
this was the method used at more than 90 percent of the establishments vis-
ited in South Carolina. Only at the port of Charleston was any other method
employed. No compresses or warehouses using the hand method of drawing sam-
ples were found in the States of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, or Missouri;
but this method is used exclusively at 31 percent of the compresses and ware-
houses visited in the United States.
It is possible that at some time in the future a satisfactory motor-
driven sample cutter may be perfected, in which case the practice of draw-
ing plugged samples might be considerably increased.
Factors Affecting Representativeness of Sample
The consideration of first importance in sampling cotton is that the
sample be adequately representative of the bale. A good sample will enable
the classer to determine the quality of the major portion of the lint making
up the bale and to determine also whether the bale is plated or two-sided.
Inasmuch as there is some confusion of the terms plated, false-packed, mixed-
packed, and two-sided as applied to bales of cotton, a brief explanation
of each of these terms, as used throughout this discussion, seems advisable.
A plated bale is one having a thin layer of lint on the top and/or
bottom surface. This layer may be (1) of different quality or (2) of dif-
ferent origin, whether or not it differs in quality. The term "plated" is
- 17 -
usually applied when this surface layer is not too thick to be penetrated
in taking the sample. A false-packed bale is one (1) containing substances
entirely foreign to cotton; (2) containing damaged cotton in the interior
with or without any indication of such damage upon the exterior; (3) com-
posed of good cotton upon the exterior and decidedly inferior cotton in the
interior, in such manner as not to be detected by customary examination;
or (4) containing pickings or linters worked into the bale. An augur is
sometimes used for boring into the end of a bale that is suspected of being
false-packed. According to the present regulations under the U. S. Cotton
Futures Act (May 1936), a mixed-packed bale is one which in the samples drawn
therefrom (1) shows a difference of two grades or more, if of the same color;
or (2), if of the same grade but of different colors, is Blue Stained and
either White, Spotted, Yellow Tinged, Light Stained, or Yellow Stained, or
which, if none is Blue Stained, shows a difference of two or more color grad-
ations; or (3) if the samples are of different grade and different color
and show a variation in quality exceeding that between one grade in one color
and the next higher or lower grade in the next higher or lower color; or (4)
shows a difference in length of staple exceeding 1/16 of an inch. 3/ A two-
sided bale is one having on its top and/or bottom surface lint that differs
in quality in any noticeable quantity. Certain two-sided bales may be plated
and others may be mixed-packed within the above definitions. Still other
two-sided bales may not come within the definition for either plated or mixed-
Ginning and Baling.- The degree to which the sample represents the
bale depends, first, on the uniformity in quality of seed cotton brought
to the gin by the grower, and, second, on the thoroughness with which the
cotton is mixed while it is being unloaded and carried through the cleaning
and ginning equipment. At some gins an employee handles the suction pipe
and unloads the seed cotton in such a way as to get a good mixture. At other
gins the person handling the suction pipe may not be so experienced, in which
case a good mixture may not be obtained.
Lack of uniformity in seed cotton when presented for ginning may re-
sult from one or more of a number of causes, among which may be mentioned
the following. (1) Rain may have come while the cotton making up the bale
was being picked, that picked after the rain producing lint of lower grade
than that picked before the rain. (2) The farmer may have been growing two
varieties of cotton on his farm, and, not having a sufficient quantity of
the pickings of one variety to make a bale, may have included enough of the
other variety to make up the required load of seed cotton. (3) The ginner
may have bought up various lots of seed cotton and stored them in the gin
house or elsewhere until such time as he could conveniently gin the accum-
ulated lot, too little care being taken to keep the different grades and
staples separated. Occasionally a portion of this cotton may have been picked
and other portions may have been harvested by snapping or sledding. Mixed-
packed bales or plated bales may be the result.
3/ The regulations in effect in May 1936 declare bales showing within them-
selves a difference of staple exceeding 1/16 inch to be mixed-packed. At
that time, however, a revision of this definition was under consideration,
and interested persons would do well to inform themselves of any change that
may have since been made in the regulations.
- 18 -
When a load of seed cotton that varies in quality is presented for
ginning, the ginner can do little more than mix the cotton thoroughly. Un-
less this is done, a two-sided bale is almost certain to result. The class-
ification of samples from such a bale will probably vary with the position
on the bale from which the samples are drawn.
Another ginning factor of importance in connection with obtaining a
representative sample is the seed cotton from the last load remaining in
the distributor, cleaner-feeders, and roll box when the press box is turned
to receive the cotton for the next bale to be ginned. Some ginners claim
that it wastes much time and machine power to let the rolls run until they
stop turning, and that, since the press box is turned at the same time on
each bale, no loss in pounds of lint is suffered by the farmer. However,
if all the seed cotton has not been ginned and passed into the press box
before the press box is turned, this cotton will form a layer on the bottom
of the following bale, the lint of which may or may not differ materially
from the remainder of the lint that makes up that bale.
If this layer is of either better or poorer quality than the average
for cotton in the bale, it may prevent the drawing of a representative sample
and thus affect the classification of the bale. It should be borne in mind
that the commercial sample used in cotton classing is, in reality, composed
of two samples, one from the bottom side and one from the top side of the
bale, and that it is customary to buy cotton on the basis of that portion
of the combined sample that is lowest in grade and staple. In spite of the
fact that plates on bales of cotton are often so thin as to be recognized
by the classer as of minor importance, it should be remembered that when
a layer of inferior cotton is placed on a good bale, an injustice is done
the farmer who grew the cotton.
The thickness of the plate on a bale of ginned lint depends on sev-
eral factors, among which are the size of the gin, the type of ginning ma-
chinery, the variety of cotton, and the quantity of cotton left in the ma-
- chinery when the press is turned.
F. L. Gerdes, associate cotton technologist in charge of the cotton
fiber research work at the Department's ginning laboratory at Stoneville,
Miss., found that if the press box is not turned promptly but instead the
saws are allowed to run until the seed roll stops turning, more or less short
fibrous material is deposited on the top side of the bale. The quantity of
this fibrous material deposited will depend also upon the variety of the cot-
ton and the size of the gin. 4/ Mr. Gerdes found that this deposit contains
linter fiber ginned from the seed from the time the feeding supply is exhausted
to the time the roll stops turning, and that it is often considerably dis-
colored, especially if the cotton being ginned is of a variety having big,
Ordinarily this deposit is too thin to affect the grade or staple of
the bale unless the sample is not sufficiently trimmed.
4/ The number of gin stands and saws varies from 1 stand and 60 saws to 6
stands and 80 saws; other things being equal, the smaller the gin, the thin-
ner the layer of fibrous material.
- 19 -
Another cause of plating on the top side of bales is the re-clean-
ing of seed cotton. Certain types of gins have an overflow of soed cotton
from the distributor. Later, this cotton is passed through the overflow
suction pipe to the cleaning machinery, is re-cleaned, and is again pre-
sented to the distributor. If the gin stands are still too crowded to take
all of the cotton presented, the distributor throws the excess to the over-
flow pile, and the cleaning process is repeated. Should the operation of
the over-flow system cause seed cotton to pass through the cleaning equip-
ment two or more times, a plate of different quality would probably be de-
posited on the top of the bale.
Ginning also affects the thickness of the plate in another way: the
plate may not be of uniform depth. It may be thick on one end of the bale
and thin on the other end, or it may be thick in the center of the bale and
thin on the ends. Charles A. Bennett, senior mechanical engineer in charge
of engineering work at the Department's experimental cotton ginning labor-
atory at Stoneville, Miss., states that uneven distribution of fibers in a
plate or a bale may be caused by an unequal rate of feed into the different
gin stands, unbalanced action of brushes or air-blast nozzles that deliver
the ginned fiber from the gin stands, or a combination of these two causes.
To quote Mr. Bennett, "Standard construction of the lint flues in gins intro-
duces the fiber from each gin stand to the main lint flue in such a manner
as to give a spiralized or twisting delivery of the lint to the condenser.
This delivery, acting like a thread on a screw, will discharge lint from
any particular gin to a certain position on the condenser screen; conse-
quently, the failure of all the units to deliver lint uniformly and in equal
quantities will result in the bat being thicker at one place than another,
and as the bale is built up, more fiber accumulates in the corresponding posi-
tion within the press box. If one stand is not fed at the same rate as that
for other stands, or if the doffing action of the brushes or air-blast nozzles
produces a greater velocity of discharge from one gin stand than from another,
it will be seen that it becomes possible for the bat to be thinned out in one
place and thickened in others."
Since a bale packed in this way is not of uniform density, and since
this lack of uniformity affects the top layer of fibrous material as well
as the underlying cotton, it is possible for a sample to be drawn at a point
on the bale where this layer is likely to be thick and another sample to be
drawn through a thin portion of the layer at a different position on the
bale. This may result in differences in classifications for the same bale,
due to actual quality differences in the samples drawn.
In some cases, the ginner avoids placing the plate on the bottom of
the bale by turning the press box one-fourth of the way around. As the gin-
ning of the new bale is started, the lint from the previous bale that was
left in the roll box is allowed to fall to the floor. After a part of the
lint from the new bale is ginned into the press box, the lint from the pre-
vious bale is thrown into the center of the bale, and the ginning continues.
- 20 -
This is a violation of law in some States 5/, and so far as known is not
a general practice elsewhere. /
Developments in the mechanical design of gin machinery that would
obviate the plating of bales would be of great value. Not only would it
increase the representativeness of samples, but it would remove one of the
factors that frequently affects the classification of the grower's cotton.
Cotton buyers in different parts of the Cotton Belt were interviewed
in an effort to obtain information concerning the prevalence of two-sided
bales of cotton marketed in the territories in which they operated. Cotton
buyers of all types were included, some of them being among the largest buy-
ers of cotton in the United States, and some being only small country mer-
chants. Since it is not known how much cotton was handled by each buyer, or
how much cotton was grown in the territory in which each operated, there is
no satisfactory method of weighting the information given by these buyers
concerning two-sided bales.
Unweighted averages of the estimates were computed, therefore, for
the various States, and they are presented in table 2 as an indication of
the prevalence of two-sided bales. Inasmuch as two-sided bales are valued
for grade according to the "low" side and for staple according to the "short"
side, it can be seen that losses thus sustained by farmers alone in the United
States amount to thousands of dollars during each season.
Bales of cotton the two sides of which vary one-sixteenth of an inch
or more in staple length are not desired by many spinners even at a price
representing the value of the shortest staple length. Unless the rolls on
a spinning frame are reset, cockled yarn is likely to result from the spin-
ning of cotton that averages longer in staple than that for which roll set-
tings have been made. Bales that are two-sided in grade can be used at some
mills, but spinners often reject them.
Another matter connected with ginning that should have attention be-
cause it affects the sampling of cotton, is the roughly packed top side of
the bale. It is common knowledge among cotton samplers who work at com-
presses that it is easier to get a sample of desirable size from the bottom
side of the bale than from the top side. The first cotton that falls in-
to the press box forms the bottom of the bale. The sample from the bottom
of the bale does not break into parts as does the sample from the top side.
In other words, the sample from the bottom of the bale will usually open
into layers, which in most instances are the length of the sample; where-
as the sample from the top of the bale will not open into layers so read-
ily and often has a rough, wadded appearance. This roughness is not of the
same intensity in all samples, but few samples from the top of the bale are
so rough that the grade assigned is lower than it otherwise would have been,
or that, in trade terms, the grade is reduced. An extreme case of roughness
5/ See extracts from State laws relating to false packing of cotton, p. 36.
/ A mechanical device has been invented for catching the first part of the
lint for each bale, allowing the next lint ginned to fall into the press box.
The first lint ginned is then deposited into the press box. and the bale is
___ *, -
- 21 -
in packing gives the sample drawn from the top of the bale the appearance
of loose cotton. If the sample is trimmed rather deeply, however, this is
not so noticeable, especially if the last layers of cotton distributed to
the bale were folded smoothly. The layers of cotton in the sample from the
top side of the bale are not so long, as a rule, as those in the sample from
the bottom side of the bale. The shorter layers and the greater roughness
are two useful indicators of the top side of the bale. Notwithstanding the
rough appearance that is sometimes noticeable in the sample from the top
side of the bale, it is usually the more representative of the two portions
of the sample. It is of the same origin, presumably, as the major portion
of the cotton in the bale, for the bottom of the bale may be plated with
cotton of different quality from the load of seed cotton previously ginned.
Table 2.- Estimated percentages of two-sided bales among
cotton bales handled by buyers interviewed in
specified States, crop of 1932-33
G e o rg ia ........................... .............
T e x a s ........................................ ....
percentage l/ of
I/ Unweighted average of buyers' estimates.
2/ No data.
Gin-manufacturing companies and ginners vary in their opinions as
to the cause of the rough top side of a bale. Some manufacturers of gin
machinery state that when the top side is rough, the picker roll is not prop-
erly timed. Mr. Bennett gives the following explanation: "Frequently, dur-
ing the final minutes in the ginning of a bale of cotton, the chutes lead-
ing to the feeders are irregularly filled and the seed cotton is not uniformly
spread over the entire length of the stand. This results in dribbles of
seed cotton feeding down on one side of the gin only, and consequently the
saws are delinting one portion of the seed roll while ginning at a varied
rate on the remainder. This action of itself may produce a severe rough-
ness in the sample, and scanty accumulations of cotton in the condenser chute
will result in accentuating this roughness when the offers discharge the
lint into the press box. If the ginner does not raise the gin breasts promptly
when finishing the bale, the seed rolls are ginned down to different densities
so that variable amounts of cotton remain in the seed-roll boxes, and very ir-
regular plating may result on one side of the bale."
Under certain circumstances the cotton classer finds it desirable
to be able to identify the sample drawn from the top side of the bale as
distinguished from that drawn from the bottom side. Information concerning
the distinguishing characteristics of the two sides of the bale was there-
fore sought from those interviewed concerning sampling practices. The identi-
ty of the top and bottom sides of the flat bale can be determined in almost
every instance by observation. First, the buckles are usually near the top
of the bale, and the opening of the buckle is always toward the bottom, re-
sulting in a longer lap in the ties toward the bottom of the bale. In those
instances in which the buckles are placed so near the center of the bale
that there may be some difficulty in identifying the top side of the bale
by this method, a second means of identification may be found in the smooth-
ness with which the bagging covers the top of the bale and hangs over the
sides. Gravity will cause the bagging on the top side of the bale to hang
down smoothly, whereas wrinkles in the bagging will usually be seen on the
bottom side, particularly at the edges. The identification of the top and
bottom sides of standard-density and high-density bales is a more difficult
problem, but one that in many instances it is possible to solve. For ex-
ample, the top side of a flat bale will still be the top side of that bale
after compression if a small auxiliary press has been used to remove the
bands before compressing. The position of the buckles and the smoothness
of the bagging will thus indicate the top and bottom sides of this bale,
as in the case of the flat bale.
An additional test is sometimes applied when it is known that the
top side of the flat bale was up when placed in position for compression.
If this fact can be established, then it is possible to determine by the
following procedure which side of the compressed bale was the top side of
the original flat bale. The finger nails are drawn against the sides of
the bale; the side will feel rough when the nails are drawn from the bot-
tom of the bale toward the top; but when the nails are drawn in the opposite
direction, the sides will feel very smooth. It should be borne in mind that
this method can be applied only to the extent that the fact can be established
that the flat bale was placed in the press with the top side up.
It was found that the top and bottom sides of flat bales could be
identified at 92 percent of the compresses and warehouses visited, as com-
pared with 64 percent for standard-density bales and 61 percent for high-
density bales (table 3). In order that the classer may determine which of
the two portions of the sample is more nearly representative of the major
part of the cotton in the bale. some adequate means of identifying the top
and bottom sides of all bales is desirable. This might be accomplished
- 23 -
through a tag or marker placed at a fixed point on the bale at the time of
ginning, to remain in that position throughout the existence of the bale.
Table 3.- Comparative ability to identify top and bottom sides of
flat, standard-density, and high-density bales of cotton
at compresses and warehouses visited, by States, 1933
Proportion of total compresses handling
Compresses specified types of bales at which top and
State and bottom of such bales could be identified
warehouses Standard- High-
__________ __visited Flat density_ density
Number Percent Percent Percent
Total.............. 148 91.9 63.5 60.7
Alabama ...................... 13 100.0 77.8 77.8
Arkansas .................... 12 91.7 90.9 87.5
Georgia ...................... 23 100.0 20.0 28.6
Louisiana.................. 14 92.9 16.7 21.4
Mississippi.............. 7 100.0 100.0 100.0
Missouri.................... 2 100.0 50.0 --
North Carolina........ 12 66.7 --.|
South Carolina ........ 11 72.7 33.3 100.0
Tennessee.................. 6 100.0 66.7 33.3
Texas.......................... 46 95.7 71.8 73.2
Virginia.................... 2 50.0 ..
Drawing the Sample.- Although many of the compress and warehouse man-
agers interviewed seemed to think that the method of sampling employed lo-
cally was the only method used to any extent in the United States, there
was a consensus of opinion among buyers that a poorly drawn sample affects
the classification of the bale, and many buyers stated that classification
varies with the method of drawing the sample (table 4).
Only about 3 percent of the buyers were of the opinion that the method
of sampling affects staple-length classification. There is reason to believe
that some buyers who answered in the negative did not take into account the
fact that variations in classing may result from differences in the degree
to which different samples pass through the plate. These variations may
result from hurried stapling of samples inconspicuously plated with cotton
of the same grade as the remainder of the bale but of different staple length.
Of all buyers interviewed, 25 percent stated that the method of sam-
pling affects grade, and nearly 65 percent stated that it affects the appear-
ance of the sample. The outstanding fact brought out by a comparison of
the data shown in tables 1 and 4 is that more than 86 percent of the buy-
ers interviewed in Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama, where the more attrac-
tive plugged and cut samples are in use, thought that the method of sampling
would affect the appearance of the sample; whereas approximately 60 percent
of the buyers interviewed in South Carolina and 90 percent of those in North
Carolina, where samples are drawn by hand almost exclusively, thought that
the method of drawing would not affect the appearance of the sample.
Table 4.- Buyers interviewed and percentages of them stating
that method of sampling affects grade, staple
length, or appearance of sample, by States, 1933
Total...... .... 161
Georgia .................... 19
North Carolina...... 11
South Carolina...... 13
Tennessee ............... 6
Virginia .................. 3
Percentage of buyers stating that
method of sampling affects -
The different sampling practices prevailing in the different parts
of the Cotton Belt may be explained to some extent by differences in circum-
stances surrounding the marketing or handling of cotton in the different
areas. It will be observed, for example, that the hook is much used in sam-
pling Delta cotton. In this connection, attention is called to the fact
that, inasmuch as the natural appearance of long-staple cotton is somewhat
more rough or stringy than that of other cotton grown in the United States,
the extent of additional roughness caused by the hook or by pulling these
samples by hand is not readily apparent.
At one compress visited in Virginia, all samples -- whether from flat,
standard-density, or high-density bales -- were drawn by hand. But many
managers of compresses visited were of the opinion that, although a good
sample can be taken with the hands from a flat bale, it would be impossible to
obtain in this way a good sample from a compressed bale. A large number of
high-density bales were observed with bands so close together that an adequate
sample could not be obtained without breaking a band, and several bales were
seen on which bands were crossed. Breaking and replacing bands require loss
of time and involve added expense, and some shippers will not allow the bands
to be broken after the bale has been compressed. Thousands of bales are sampled
- 25 -
after compression at interior compresses and elsewhere in Texas and Louisiana,
the samples sometimes measuring as little as 2 inches in width.
There is considerable variation in the size of samples drawn by the
different methods from different kinds of bales. The width of the sample
from a flat bale averages between 6 and 7 inches. The largest samples ob-
served were those from the Delta area in Mississippi. In this area, it is
the practice to pull samples that are as long as possible and as deep as
can be obtained with a hook. They are in many instances as long as the width
of the bale. Buyers state that much cotton produced in Mississippi is sold
by brokers and that the original sample is divided into two parts in order
to have for their use two samples from the same sample hole. Samples from
compressed bales in Texas averaged 4 inches in width; but samples drawn in
Mobile and Savannah, where the practice of better spacing of bands had been
adopted for bales of cotton to be certificated, were found to average from
6 to 7 inches in width. In all areas the length of the compress sample ap-
peared to depend also upon whether the cotton was to be certificated. 7/
Certain cotton classes insist that a satisfactory sample requires a mini-
mum of 6 ounces of lint, 3 ounces from each side of the bale. They state
that accurate determination of grade is not assured if the sample is too
When the sample is taken by hook, it is extremely difficult to pull
the cotton close to the band, whereas by the plug method the sampler can
cut the fibers parallel to and against the band, giving a little more width
to the sample. Those who prefer taking samples with the hook say that it
is less destructive to fibers than is the knife used in sampling. A hand-
drawn sample is even smaller and thinner than a hooked sample, because of the
difficulty of pulling the cotton close to the band. Because of the greater
effort required to pull samples by hand, this method of sampling is said to
encourage "pinching." i8/
The plug method is best for obtaining samples from standard-density
and high-density bales on which the bands are placed close together. It
has been suggested, however, that the sampling of high-density bales would
be much facilitated by spacing the bands somewhat as shown in figure 11:
two rather close together on each end of the bale and the other five at uni-
form intervals over the rest of the bale, 9/
7/ Specifications for samples from bales to be certificated are given in Ser-
vice and Regulatory Announcement 124 of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics,
United States Department of Agriculture.
8/ "Pinching" is the practice of making a very small hole in the bagging of a
cotton bale and pulling a small sample by hand. The size of the sample is so
small that it is said to be a pinch. A sample taken in this way probably
will not weigh 1 ounce.
9/ This spacing, suggested by F. J. Heberlin of Galveston, Tex, is now used
extensively in the Southwest. A. L. Reed, Secretary-Counsel for the South-
western Compress and Warehouse Association of Dallas, Tex., aided materially
in bringing about the adoption of the practice.
U. L P NARTMUITOP AhICULTUl9I NIB. 31209 BUREAU OF ABRICULTURALECONOIICl
FIGURE IIe- SUGGESTED SPACING FOR BANDS ON COMPRESSED
BALES OF COTTON* SAMPLING Is8 FACILITATED BY PLACING TWO
BANDS CLOSE TOGETHER NEAR EACH END OF THE BALE AND DISTRI-
BUTING THE REMAINING FIVE BANDS AT EQUAL INTERVALS OVER
THE REST OF THE BALE.
- 27 -
If the grade of the cotton is low, the edges of a plugged sample are
likely to show more trash or foreign matter than would the edges of the same
sample drawn by another method, the density of the cotton at the edges be-
ing less disturbed by cutting than by grappling with either hook or fingers.
The plugged sample thus provides an especially correct representation of
the trash or foreign matter contained in the bale. Several large cotton
firms in Texas have adopted the practice of requesting plugged samples for
the classification of their cotton.
Similarly, when samples are drawn by cutting one edge only with a
knife, the pulled edges, where the fibers have been somewhat disturbed, are
likely to show less leaf or trash than do the cut edges (figs. 3 and 4);
but these edges look rough, which probably counteracts the favorable im-
pression due to absence of trash. It must be remembered that, although cot-
ton is not classed by looking at the edges of samples, the psychological
effect of attractive samples is to be considered.
Patching.- The drawing of representative samples may be prevented
by the size and character of the patches used on bales of cotton. A very
cheap patch is sometimes made by gathering up odds and ends of bagging, jute,
and refuse, placing it in a burlap bag that has previously been used for
fertilizer or cottonseed products, and sewing up the bag. This makes a thick,
bulky patch that must be cut through in order to obtain a sample. The patch
may be so thick that the proper depth cannot be attained, and an insufficient
Trimming the Sample.- To the extent that the outside surface of a cot-
ton sample bears evidence of bagging trash, bagging stain, or ground stain,
it is not representative of the major portion of the cotton in the bale.
If the bale has been exposed to the weather for a long period, there is likely
to be some rotten or damaged cotton on the outside of the bale, evidence
of which may be found on the outside surface of the sample. For this reason
and for compactness and convenience in rolling and wrapping, it is customary
to strip a layer of soiled or fiber-impregnated cotton from the outside surface
of samples and to pull away straggling tufts from other edges. This is refer-
red to as trimming or "dressing" the sample.
* Although a few of the buyers that were interviewed said that samples
should not be trimmed because the buyer should be given an opportunity to
see all the cotton making up the sample drawn, most buyers thought that samples
should be trimmed to the extent of removing all weather stain and damage.
The trimming of cotton samples was found to be practiced in all of the States
and at 95 percent of all compresses and warehouses visited (table 5). Samples
drawn by plugging usually require little or no trimming or dressing, except
on the outer surface. Attention is called to the fact that the rules of some
trade organizations specify that samples shall not be trimmed.
Rolling the Sample.- The samples taken from the top and bottom sides
of a bale of cotton should be so rolled and tagged (1) that correct judgment
concerning the grade and staple of the cotton in the bale, based on these
- 28 -
samples, is facilitated; and (2) that there can be no doubt concerning the
identity of the bale from which the samples were drawn.
Table 5.- Prevalence of the practice of trimming cotton samples
at compresses and warehouses visited, by States, 1933
T o ta l ....................
G e o rg ia ... ..................... .... .......
Lou is iana....................................
M issou ri .................... ..................
T e x a s ............................................
V i rg in ia ......................................
At many of the compresses and warehouses visited it was found that
there were no regulations governing the method of rolling samples, the sam-
pler following any method convenient to him. At most compresses and ware-
houses, however, the samples from the top and the bottom sides of the bale
were carefully rolled with the identifying coupon between them, and at nearly
7 percent of the compresses and warehouses it was customary to roll the sample
from the bottom side of the bale on the outside of the combined sample (table
6). As previously stated, the sample drawn from the top side of the bale
is sometimes rougher and often has shorter and more irregular layers of cotton
than the sample from the bottom side of the bale. When this condition is
noticeable, it is a valuable means of identifying the sample from the top
side of the bale. Under such circumstances, samplers sometimes place the
sample from the bottom side of the bale on the outside and roll from each end
toward the center, but the usual direction for rolling samples is not from
the ends inward toward the center, but from one end to the other. Samples
for certification according to the United States Cotton Futures Act are laid
flat on sample paper and rolled inside the paper.
At one-half of the compresses and warehouses visited it was found to
be customary to roll samples with the inside surfaces together (table 6).
This practice was followed extensively in Alabama, Texas, South Carolina,
Mississippi, and Virginia. At about 5 percent of the compresses and ware-
houses, the outside surfaces of the samples were rolled together; and at
about 5 percent, the inside surface of one of the samples was rolled against
the outside surface of the other.
- -- -- -
Table 6.- Prevalence of various methods of arranging cotton samples for
rolling at compresses and warehouses visited, by States, 1933
I r, m vaa~r I
Proportionate use of specified methods of arranjgi n samples for rolling
I I a I
and top side
2.0 4.7 ... 0.7
and bottom side
and bottom side
- 30 -
Occasionally a sampler will draw a sample from the top side of the
bale, Lrim it, and divide it by layers, mixing the layers several times so
that the inside and outside surfaces of the sample cannot be distinguished.
When the sample drawn from the bottom side of the bale has been given the
same sort of treatment, the two samples are placed together with the coupon
between them. This practice of mixing layers is decidedly undesirable, for
there is a possibility that the bale is thickly plated and that the portion
of the plate drawn will be so placed as to unduly affect classing. In most
cases it is possible to identify the inside surface of a sample before it is
trimmed, unless it has been pulled by hand and is not very deep. Other means
of identification are found in the bagging stain or trash on the outside
surface and the comparative shortness, narrowness, and roughness of the in-
side surface. As shown in table 7, employees at compresses are usually able
to distinguish the inside surfaces of cotton samples from the outside surfaces,
but are less able to distinguish the portion of the sample taken from the top
of the bale from that taken from the bottom of the bale.
It is well to remember that the sample from the bottom of the bale
may be composed, wholly or in part, of cotton from the previous bale ginned,
as is not the case with the sample from the top side of the bale. If, as
previously suggested, some means of permanently identifying the top and bot-
tom sides of bales should be adopted, standardized practice with respect
to rolling would enable the classer to know in every instance, which portion
of the sample is from the bottom of the bale. The practice of rolling the
sample from the bottom side of the bale (when the bottom can be identified)
on the outside of the combined sample would aid the classer in determining
which portion of the sample is most representative of the bale. This deter-
mination would be further facilitated by the practice of placing the inside
surfaces of the two portions of the sample together (with the identifying
tag between them). The results of this study indicate that this is the pre-
dominant method of rolling samples at compresses and warehouses, presumably
because the outside surface is in most instances larger than the inside sur-
face. This gives special protection to the inside surface, which is prob-
ably most representative of the major portion of the cotton in the bale.
Iandlin7_ Packinaz and Care of Samples.- Cotton samples should be
handled carefully after they are drawn in order to prevent loss of sand or
other foreign matter therefrom or other changes that may affect their rep-
resentative character. In some localities samples are left on top of the
bales for varying lengths of time before they are wrapped, whereas in other
localities it is customary to wrap samples as soon as they are cut. The
practice of leaving samples on the top of the bales after they are cut is
not a good one, for the humidity of the sample may be changed, and the color
also may be changed to some extent by bleaching.
Samples taken from cotton that is to be certificated are rolled and
wrapped in individual papers, which helps to keep the humidity and the color
of the cotton as nearly constant as possible throughout the sample. At some
of the inland compresses and warehouses in each of the States except Alabama,
Arkar.sas. Tennssee, and Virginia. individual papers were used for the sam-
ples from each bale. In most instances, when a single method is used, the
Table 7.- Comparative ability to identify inside and outside surfaces of
cotton samples and portions of sample from top and bottom of
bale at compresses and warehouses visited, by States, 1933
Percentage of compresses and warehouses Percentage of compresses and warehouses
Compresses visited at which replies concerning visited at which replies concerning
State and ability to identify inside and outside ability to identify portions of sample
warehouses _surfaces of samples were-- frcm top Frd Ictcm cf bale were--
SYes No---- At times__ 1__Yes __To _At es to say
Number Percent Percent Percent Fercent Percent | Percent Percent
Total 8......... 148 89.2 10.8 -- 25.0 52.1 10.1 12.8
Alabama.................. 13 92.3 7.7 -- 15.4 30.8 -- 53.8
Arkansas................ 12 100.0 -- -- 41.7 50..0 8.3 --
Ceorgia.................. 23 95.7 4.3 -- 21.8 43.5 -- 34.7
Louisiana.............. 14 50..0 50.0 --- 7.1 71.5 21.4 --
Mississippi.......... 7 100.0 -- -- 57.1 42.9 ..
Missouri................ 2 100.0 -- .-- 50.0 50.0 -- .
North Carolina.... 12 75.0 25.0 --- -- 75.0 8.3 16.7
South Carolina.... 11 100.0 --- -- -- 81.8 18.2
Tennessee .............. 6 100.0 .-- -- 33.3 66.7 ...
Texas...................... 46 91.3 8.7 -- 37.0 41.3 21.7 --
Virginia................ 2 100.0 -- -- --- 1O.O 0
- 32 -
samples are rolled and packed in a sack; in others, they are rolled and packed
in a box or a basket (table 8). At 25.7 percent of the compresses and ware-
houses visited, sacks were used for handling samples; at 3.4 percent, a method
was used whereby samples were pressed in rows upon sampling paper and wrapped,
50 samples to the bundle; and at 0.7 percent, a string was tied around the
sample immediately after drawing, and it was given to the farmer (table 8).
Buyers seem to think that when samples are rolled very tightly and
packed tightly in a bag, they remain representative of the bale for a long
time. The use of a box or a basket allows light and air to strike the sam-
ples, possibly lessening their representativeness. The poorest method of
all is that of merely tying the sample with a string, for the sample is thus
continuously exposed to light and wind from the time it is cut.
Either boxes or baskets were used as containers for samples at 13.5
percent of the compresses and warehouses visited, being used most extensively
in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama. It seems worthy of note
that in this area samples are usually drawn by hand and that little thought
is given to the matter of appearance of the sample. The sack is the means
most often specified in most other States. Sacks, boxes, and baskets are
widely used because they cost less than wrapping paper.
Samples should be properly handled and cared for after they are drawn,
not only to preserve their representativeness with respect to color, foreign
matter, moisture content, and other characteristics, but to prevent the loss
or misplacement of the identifying coupons.
Summary and Conclusions
The principal types of samples drawn from bales of cotton are (l the
plugged, or blocked, sample; (2) the sample that is cut on one edge only;
(3) the sample that is pulled from the bale with a cotton hook; and (4) the
sample that is pulled from the bale by hand.
At one-third of the 148 compresses and warehouses visited for the
purpose of assembling data for this report, the knife was used for cutting
one or more edges of cotton samples before drawing them from the bales, all
samples drawn being either "plugged" or drawn by cutting into the bale on
one edge only. These compresses and warehouses were located in Texas, Louis-
iana, Alabama, Arkansas, and Georgia. At 4 percent of the 46 compresses and
warehouses visited in Texas, plugged samples only were drawn.
At 22 percent of the compresses and warehouses visited in the Cotton
Belt. samples were drawn by cutting into the bale on one edge only, usually
in the form of a crescent. This method was most used in Texas and Louisiana.
At 24 percent of the compresses and warehouses visited, particularly
in the vicinity of the Mississippi Delta, the knife was used to cut the bag-
ging, after which samples were pulled from the bales with a cotton hook.
- 33 -
Table 8.- Comparative use of various means employed for wrapping
or other care of cotton samples at compresses and
warehouses visited, by States, 1933
G eo rg ia ......................
and Individual Box Sample
warehouses papers String or Sack paper
visited ---- .b.. .ket
Number Percent I Percent I Percent Percent Percent
148 8.1 07 I 13.5 I 25.7 L 3.4
13 -- --- 15.4 | 7.7 7.7
12 ......... 33.3 ---
23 8.7 --- 8.7 21.7 8.7
14 14.3 -- | --. --.
7 14.3 %-- -- 57.1 --
2 50.0 .-- -- I ---.
12 8.3 -- 75.1 -- 8.3
11 9.1 -- 45.4 9.1 9.1
6 -- -- -- I 16.6 --
46 8.7 2.2 4.3 25.7 -
2 -- -- I 50.0
of means Not
S 46.1 23.1
S 33.3 33.4
1 N.0 39.2
S 85.7 -
23.9 I 15.2
50. 0 --
At 31 percent of the compresses and warehouses visited, after cutting
the bagging only. samples were pulled from cotton bales by hand. This prac-
tice was most prevalent in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and
Alabama. No compresses or warehouses employing this method were found in
Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, or Missouri.
Ginning and baling practices are closely associated with sampling.
The possibility of insufficient mixing of the load of seed cotton brought
to the -in and of "plating" the bale with cotton from a previous load that
is of different quality, are matters associated with ginning that sometimes
affect materially the representativeness of samples.
Information furnished by buyers interviewed throughout the Cotton Belt
indicates that about 13 percent of the cotton marketed in the United States
in 1932-33 was two-sided, and 92 percent of the managers of compresses and
warehouses visited indicated that the top and bottom sides of flat bales
can be identified. As a rule, the top and bottom sides of a compressed bale
can be identified only when it is known that the flat bale was placed in the
press with the top side up.
Since buyers, as a rule. are unwilling to pay for cotton of two dif-
ferent qualities within the bale a price above that which the lower quality
commands, farmers should benefit from a method of drawing and rolling sam-
ples that would indicate whether or not the lower quality represents the
bulk of the baie or only a small part of it. Additional benefits would re-
sult from developments in ginning by which plated or two-sided bales might
be obviated. If the identity of the two sides of a compressed bale as well
as of a flat bale could be known from time of ginning throughout its exist-
ence as a bale. and if the rolling of samples were so standardized as to
insure the identity of the two portions of the sample, the classer would
be able to know. in all instances, which portion of the sample is from the
top side, and therefore most representative of the bale.
It nas been shown that most cotton bales are plated to some extent.
Under prc.i.L. conditions, it is necessary in cutting a sample that the cut
into the bale be sufficiently deep to insure representativeness in the sam-
ple; that is. that a thin plate will not unduly affect the representative-
ness of the sample after it is trimmed. If the plate is thick, or if the
sample is thin, adequate representation of the bale may not be obtained.
Thick, uneven patches on cotton bales often prevent the drawing of
a good sample.
Cot iton samples are usually trimmed to a depth that will remove bag-
ging stain and weather stain.
At one-half of the compresses and warehouses it was customary to roll
the samples from the top and the bottom of the bale with the inside surfaces
together, separated only by the identifying coupon. At several, care was
taken to roll Lile uC .ton from the bottom side of the bale on the outside of
the combi.nd sample Both of these practices are desirable and could well
be incorporated in any plan for standardized rolling of samples. They facil-
itate rolling and tend to give greatest protection to that portion of the
sample that is likely to most nearly represent the bale. The classer would
thus know that the portion of the sample rolled on the outside is the one
that was taken from the bottom of the bale and may be affected by plating.
When samples are to be used again, they should be handled carefully
and in such a way that the two portions of the sample are not changed from
their original position in the sample.
The present method of wrapping samples in individual papers for cer-
tification is the best yet devised for this purpose, but this method is not
often employed in wrapping other samples. Individual papers for single sam-
ples are useful for preserving their identity, but the cost of such papers
is often prohibitive. Wrapping several samples carefully and completely in
paper, excluding light and air insofar as possible, is another good method
of preserving their representativeness. Probably the next best way is to
put the samples in a sack. Using open boxes and baskets is less desirable.
Although managers of compresses and warehouses were usually familiar
with only the method of sampling that was employed locally, cotton buyers
were of the opinion that method of sampling affects cotton classing. Al-
though only 3 percent of the 161 cotton buyers stated that method of sam-
pling affects staple-length determination, 25 percent stated that it affects
grade determination, and 65 percent stated that it has a psychological ef-
fect on classing through difference in appearance.
The hand-pulled sample is the smallest and thinnest of the four types,
and it is drawn with the greatest difficulty, particularly from high-density
The sample pulled by hook is rough in appearance with irregular edges.
As a rule, some of the trash is missing from this type of sample, and the
layers of fibers have been disturbed. This sample may be smaller than either
of the cut samples, as the cotton cannot be pulled loose close to the bands.
The rumpling effect of the hook is not so evident when the cotton sampled is
longer than 1-1/8 inches in staple, as such cotton is naturally somewhat
rough in appearance.
The sample cut on one edge only can be taken conveniently from high-
density bales only when the bands are properly spaced. Although there is
usually plenty of room between bands on flat bales for drawing a sample by
making the crescent-shaped cut, there seems to be little reason for prefer-
ring this kind of sample to the plugged sample--it does not roll so easily
and is more difficult to pack and store.
The results of this study indicate that plugging is the most desir-
able method of drawing samples from high-density bales. The plugged sample
can be wider than other samples, for the edges can be cut close to the bands.
Such samples are more attractive in appearance and are more compact. They
- 36 -
can be stacked better, and they are more easily rolled. Because they re-
quire comparatively little trimming, handling and classing are expedited.
The trash seen on the edges of the plugged sample does not detract from its
usefulness as a sample but makes it more truly representative of the bale.
EXTRACTS FROM STATE LAWS RELATING TO FALSE PACKING OF COTTON
Alabama.......Laws relating to Gins--General Acts of 1923-Act 376, Article 32,
Section 12--"Any person who fraudulently packs, or bales, any cot-
ton, by plating or otherwise, must, on conviction, be fined not
less than fifty, nor more than five hundred dollars, and may also
be imprisoned in the county jail, or sentenced to hard labor for
the county, for not more than six months."
Arizona........Revised Code of Arizona, 1928, Section 4823--"Increasing weight
of goods sold in containers. Every person who in putting up in
any bag, bale, barrel, or other package, any hops, cotton, wool,
grain, hay or other goods usually sold in same by weight, puts in
or conceals therein anything whatever, for the purpose of increas-
ing the weight, with intent thereby to sell the goods therein, or
to enable another to sell the same, for an increased weight, is
punishable by a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars."
Florida... .... Compiled General Laws of Florida, 1927. Section 7856-"False pack-
ing of provisions. Whoever fraudulently puts into any barrel, bale
of cotton, cask or other package of sugar, rice. or pork, or any
other article of provisions, any dirt, rubbish, or other thing,
shall be punished by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars."
Georgia........Penal Code, Vol. 6., 1914, Section 709--"Any person who shall put
or cause to be put into any bale of cotton, vessel of sugar, rice,
pork, beef, or other provisions, wool, or other article, prepared
for market, any dirt, rubbish, or other thing, for the purpose of
adding to and increasing the weight or bulk of said cotton, sugar,
rice, beef, pork, or other provisions or things, shall be deemed
a common cheat, and shall be punished by a fine equal to the value
of the thing thus fraudulently packed or put up. and imprisonment
and labor in the penitentiary for not less than one year nor more
than five years. The bare possession or ownership of such commod-
ities, so fraudulently packed or put up, shall not of itself au-
thorize a conviction, where sufficient evidence of knowledge or priv-
ity on the part of the owner, or the person in possession, may
not be produced on the trial."
sippi........ Mississippi Code, 1930, Section 837--"If any person shall fraud-
ulently pack or bale any cotton, he shall, on conviction thereof,
be fined not more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned in
the county jail not more than six months, or both."
New Mexico... .... New Mexico Statutes. 1929. Section 81-205--"Plaiting bales.
Each and every dinner and any officer, servant or employee
of a corporation, person or gin company conducting the gin-
ning business under the provisions of this act, or any other
person, persons or corporation who shall fraudulently, wil-
fully or knowingly 'plait' or pack a bale of cotton, which
is to say, who shall wilfully and knowingly place on the out-
side of said bale a better grade and quality of cotton than
on the inside of said bale or who shall gin cotton when it is
wet or who shall in the process of ginning said bale of cotton
or thereafter add water or any foreign substance to said cotton
shall be guilty of an offense hereunder."
Carolina........Code of South Carolina, 1932, Section 1280--"Fraudulent Pack-
jing of Cotton. Any person or persons convicted of knowingly
or wilfully packing into any bag or bale of cotton any stone,
wood, trash, cotton, cottonseed, water, or any matter or thing
whatsoever, or causing the same to be done, with the intent
and purpose of cheating or defrauding any person or persons
whomsoever in the sale of such cotton, or who shall exhibit
or offer for sale any bag or bale of cotton so fraudulently
packed, at the time of the said exhibit, or offer for sale
knowing the same to be so fraudulently packed, shall on con-
viction thereof, as aforesaid, be sentenced to pay a fine of
not more than five hundred dollars nor less than twenty dol-
lars and to be imprisoned for a term of not more than six months
nor less than one month."
Tennessee.......... Code of Tennessee, 1932, Section 11147--"Penalty for conceal-
ing iron, stone, etc., in bales of cotton or packages of to-
bacco. If the owner or superintendent of cotton gin or tobacco
establishments of any kind shall place any wood, iron, rock
dirt, or other substance, into any bale of cotton, hogshead
package of tobacco, when packed or baled, for the purpose
adding to the weight thereof, or shall cause the same to be dr
by others, such person so offending shall be deemed guilty
felony, and, upon conviction thereof, shall suffer impris
in the penitentiary for a period not less than two nor mo
five years, and shall also pay a fine of five hundred
Texas.................. Complete Texas Statutes, 1928, Article 5672--"Certi
Guarantee. Whether or not a sample of the bale of
ginned shall be requested and taken by the dinner,
shall, nevertheless, place with each bale of cotto1
him a certificate of guarantee under his bond that
process of ginning or thereafter, while the cotto
possession of the ginner, no water or foreign sub
nature had been placed with such cotton, with inte
Such certificate shall bear the name and address
for whom the cotton was ginned, the number of t
books of the ginner, and the weight of the bale
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
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