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.
Eliminates human error
This allows him to enter multiple modules and eliminates human error that often occurs when a busy worker is trying to write down the correct combination of letters and numbers that identify the module.
From the ginner’s perspective, the app allows him to track where modules are located and more efficiently arrange work crews to pick up the bales. If need be, the ginner could go back and determine from which module a particular bale of cotton came.
The MyModules app itself grabs the GPS coordinates for each individual module (when modules are registered as they are made in the field). The grower doesn't need to send driving directions to the gin. Instead, the gin's module truck drivers could use the Google Maps app (or MapQuest) on their own smartphones to get driving directions, or even use Google Navigation to get real-time turn-by-turn directions.
Also, because the gin gets the GPS coordinates in the data that comes from MyModules, the gin can print out Google Maps and/or driving directions from the eCotton Gin System for the drivers to use.
Lipscomb, who communicates regularly with dozens of gins throughout the Southeast, says the reception by growers to the new app has been outstanding. “Based on the feedback we are getting from ginners, we expect a lot more farmers will be using MyModules this fall,” he says.
Lipscomb says there are apps for gins to monitor bale moisture and other factors.
For growers there are apps to track insurance factors, irrigation tracking apps, market tracking apps and apps for determining which chemicals can and can’t be mixed. In short, he says, with cotton, there’s an app for that.
The latest app released this summer is an upgrade to MyModules. It provides three new features: 1.) the grower can see the location of a given module on an interactive map; 2.) robust support for custom pickers, who can register new modules for a farmer after being authorized, but the "tracking of the progress of registered modules" features are hidden; and 3.) significant performance (speed) improvements.
Though developed for tracking cotton modules, the new app may become even more valuable as more and more growers move toward having their cotton custom picked with one of the on-board module-building pickers.
The cotton baled by either a John Deere or Case IH picker is usually called a bale by growers, in reality it is just a small-sized ‘mini’ module, Lipscomb explains.
Using MyModules, Mark Hodges says, keeping track of these smaller modules, dropped in a field by one of the new onboard module-building cotton pickers is not much more difficult than keeping up with standard size modules, which typically hold four of the big round cotton ‘mini’ modules.
The grower still has a module number, and the big, round bales become subsets under that module number. You would have, module 2550, for example and the bales would be 2550-1, 2550-2 etc. he explains.
Lipscomb says there are two ways gins track bales generated by on-board module builders. The first is the way Mark and Karan are doing it. However, the app can be used to track each individual mini module generated by a Deere or Case IH on-board module builder. Both ways work fine, Lipscomb says, it’s just a matter of how the gin is set up and how they want to number and track these bales.
Mark and Karan Hodges agree that last year was a learning experience with the MyModules app, and how widely it will be used this year in uncertain.
“When we got CottonHost several years back, I thought a few people might use it, but I didn’t think many farmers would be interested. I was wrong! Our farmers do like it and do use it,” Mark Hodges says.