What is in this article?:
• As Emporia, Va., cotton ginner Mark Hodges and his wife Karan found out last year, an app for tracking cotton modules can make life a little easier around the gin come fall picking time.
KARAN Hodges checks Cotton Host data at the Mid-Atlantic gin in Emporia, Va.
Built for cotton harvesting, ginning
“We’ve used a number of the principles involved in building apps and applied them to cotton, and more specifically to cotton harvesting and ginning,” Lipscomb says.
MyModules has two sides, says Lipscomb, who is general manager of EWR, Inc. First, the farmer can enter basic information, like when the module is made, where it’s located and what its ID number is directly into their phone and transmit this information instantly to the gin.
The second side of the app provides for tracking the progress of registered modules, from transmission, to pick-up, to ginning, to bale information.
Without using the app, module registration is typically done by calling the gin and giving them the registration number and other information about a module. With dozens of growers calling in numbers, the chance for human error is high. “As long as the correct numbers are entered into the MyModules app, human error is greatly reduced,” Lipscomb stresses.
Using the drop down choices on the app, a grower can add things like which producer account the module is assigned to, which farm or field the module came from. This information doesn’t have to be entered, the grower can choose from a pre-prepared list of options on their phone.
“The grower has four options for entering module information, depending on what level of detail their gin wants to receive: alphanumeric module IDs, numeric module IDs, simple number of modules with no IDs, or a sequence of numeric module IDs, for example that runs from 35001 through 35012," Lipscomb explains.
"It also allows the grower to push a button to activate the barcode reader, which uses the phone's camera to scan the barcode on the module ticket attached to the module instead of manually keying in the module ID," he adds.
Helping eliminate the human errors that occur despite the best efforts of growers and ginners, is a big advantage for the MyModules app, Mark Hodges says. “We have an excellent internal tracking system at our gin, and we are confident once we get a bale of cotton in the gin, we will know where it is and all the information about it that we need to know,” he adds.
“Despite this system and having a very good rapport with our growers, when they get busy and we get busy, it’s easy to write down a module number wrong or for the grower to give us a number with two numbers flip-flopped. If used correctly, this new smart phone ap can virtually eliminate those kind of human errors, “Mark says.
To use the MyModule app, growers must work with a cotton gin that subscribes to CottonHost. For the MyModules app, CottonHost is used as the communication backbone, Lipscomb explains. The app communicates with the Cotton Host server, because the site and communication link already exists, the data goes directly to the gin.
The app allows the grower to network multiple crews, working in different locations. He can even see a summary and listing of all modules from all crews on his smartphone.