New bale-weight penalities recommended

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A joint committee of the National Cotton Council and the Memphis Cotton Exchange has recommended new bale-weight penalties for MCE's Rule 19.

The study committee, chaired by Cargill Cotton's Gerald Marshall, 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.

The committee's recommendation calls for penalties on bales weighing less than 464 pounds net as follows: $3 for each bale weighing less than 464 pounds but not under 430 pounds; $6 for each bale weighing less than 430 pounds but not under 400 pounds; and $20 for bales weighing less than 400 pounds if accepted. Bales weighing less than 400 pounds and bales weighing more than 600 pounds may be rejected.

The exception to these penalties is that there will be no penalty for any invoice averaging 485 pounds (net weight) or more. Any bales weighing less than 400 pounds or more than 600 pounds may be rejected. The new penalties will be effective with the 2003 crop, starting Aug. 1, 2003.

MCE's board has unanimously adopted the recommendations. The recommendation of the joint committee is a compromise between MCE rules that were applicable to the '01 crop and those that were announced in July for the '02 crop.

Kenneth Hood, NCC chairman, commended MCE for its willingness to permit the matter to be reviewed by a joint committee, rather than imposing the Rule 19 provisions that were announced in July. "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." Hood said.

He also commended the analytical work of NCC staff, saying, "The analysis helped the committee focus on the relevant issues and facilitated what I believe is a workable solution."

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