Successful utilization of an automated optical scanning system for the purpose of assessing the trash factor included in the grade classification of cotton was demonstrated in a study that featured analysis of cottons representing a broad range of trash levels and lint colors. The utility of image analysis as an absolute indication of grade-related differences in cotton was statistically confirmed. Sources contributing to the variability of nonlint assessment by optical imaging were defined and analyzed, as was the influence of interrelated grade factors such as lint coloration on optically measured contaminant levels. In a direct comparison with the Shirley Analyzer, computerized optical scanning was shown to be at least as reliable as this standard method for determining nonlint waste.

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