“Considering the number shuffling, in 2009 it looks like ginners ginned about 4.2 bales per round module in the Southeast. In the same year, there were nine gins reporting ginning round modules, producing about 18,000 bales. Four of these gins had unwrapping machines and the rest were using a wide variety of methods of getting the wrapping off the round bales,” Nevius says.

In 2009, 80 percent of round bales were transported by module trucks and 60 percent were being put on the feeder belts and 60 percent were being put on the feeder with the module truck.

One of the new terms generated by the new round bale modules is ‘sausage style’, which refers to how the bales are stacked end to end on the feeder line. In 2009, about 70 percent of the large round bales were fed sausage style, with the flat end of the bale going into the disperser head.

“After conducting this survey in 2009, I was asked to report on my findings at Gin School and project how much of the 2010 crop would be ginned from cotton picked by OMB machines. From that experience, I developed great sympathy for weather forecasters, because I was wrong on just about everything,” Nevius jokes.

“My guess was in 2010 we would increase from 18,000 to 45,000 bales ginned from large round bales. The best numbers we can get indicate we actually ginned about 238,000 bales from OMB machines, and this only represents gins that are members of our association.

“In addition there were 40 gins ginning large round bales and 10 of these facilities had unwrapping machines.

“One thing that appears to be changing due to the increasing number of large round bales of cotton is more dependence on module trucks to deliver this cotton to the gin. The big advantage is that these trucks are Interstate legal and hauling cotton over longer distances is going to be a lot easier, if we don’t have to stick to back roads to do it”, Nevius says.

“Using module trucks allows the ginner to pull right up to the gin and load directly onto the feeder belt, though you can still go to many gins during peak times and see plenty of these large round bales of cotton around the gin yard, he adds.

‘On the round’ is another new ginning term for these large round bales. “We are seeing more bales going in with the round side of the bale going into the disperser head. More gins, especially those not using mechanical unwrapping equipment and are placing bales on the feeder belt one or two at a time, are putting the bales in this way, rather than sausage style,” Nevius says.