New Rule 19 penalties on lightweight bales, recommended by a joint National Cotton Council (NCC)-Memphis Cotton Exchange (MCE) study committee, will be adopted in 2003.

The penalties would fine growers: $3/bale weighing less than 464 lbs but not under 430 lbs, $6/bale weighing less than 430 lbs but not under 400 lbs, and $20/bale weighing less than 400 lbs if accepted.

Bales weighing less than 400 lbs or more than 600 lbs may be rejected. No penalties would be implemented for any invoice averaging 485 lbs net weight or more. The new penalties will be effective with the '03 crop, starting Aug. 1, '03.

The study committee also asked that the NCC cooperate with other groups in a new producer-ginner educational program aimed at reducing incidences of lightweight and heavyweight bales.

“I believe the committee arrived at an equitable position that will permit the industry to work toward bale weights that optimize processing, handling and shipping efficiencies,” says NCC Chairman Kenneth Hood.