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A quick way to tell when to pick cotton

By Paul Grad |

An instrument called the Cottonscope, which automatically measures cotton maturity in 25 s, has been developed by CSIRO Cotton Research Unit (Melbourne, Australia; www.csiro.au). The unit’s leader, Stuart Gordon, says the instrument has been used to measure when a crop was mature enough to harvest. “The instrument will also be valuable in the spinning mill where it will enable more accurate prediction of nep (clusters of fibers) creation, dye uptake and overall quality control when cotton bales are laid down for processing at the mill,” he says. Cottonscope is a fully automated microscope that captures color images of cotton snippets on a glass slide. The color of each snippet is used to calculate the maturity ratio. The instrument combines the technologies of SiroMat and OFDA (optical-based fiber diameter analyzer). SiroMat, also developed by CSIRO, is an automated version of the polarized light microscopy Standard Test Method (ASTM D1442.00). It uses a high-resolution color digital camera and intensive computing power to analyze images of mature and immature fibers. OFDA, from BSC Electronics Pty Ltd., (Western Australia), is an image processing instrument for rapid and accurate measurement of animal fibers such…
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