Saturday, June 20, 2015

DODGING THE BLUE MOLD BULLET


Sprayer
A farmer in eastern North Carolina sprays Tracer for budworm and hornworm control on organic tobacco near Rocky Mount, N.C., on June 10.


No new incidence of blue mold. When blue mold was discovered in a burley greenhouse near Greeneville, Tn., on June 2, there was considerable concern that an epidemic was on the way. But since then it has not been confirmed anywhere else, although there was one false alarm south of Nashville.

Nevertheless. vigilance toward blue mold is still advised. "We definitely have the potential to see blue mold in the field here in Kentucky," says Emily Pfeufer, Ky. Extension plant pathologist. "I would say that central and eastern Kentucky are most at risk, with the risk less in western Kentucky." The swirling wind and rain of Tropical Storm Bill could certainly have spread blue mold spores over a wide area.

If you decide to treat for blue mold:
  • Manzate Pro-Stick is a good choice early in the season, but good coverage is important and check your contract, since some companies have a problem with residues. Pfeufer says that if you use Manzate very early, residues may wash away. If you can't use Manzate, Forum or Revus may be good substitutes. 
  • Other options are the azoxystrobin fungicides Quadris, Satori, AzoxyStar, or Azoxy 2SC, but that is not a good idea if an azoxystrobin fungicide was your most recent spray. There is a fairly high potential for development of resistance with the azoxystrobins, so you shouldn't use them back to back.
  • Once burley plants are 18 inches or larger, you can use Actigard, which has a much different mode of action. "Excellent coverage is not quite as critical with Actigard," Pfeufer says. "Its efficacy for control of blue mold is good, and the chance is very low that it will develop resistance." You can spray dark tobacco when it is 12 inches or larger.
  • The final option is Presidio. It is newly labeled on tobacco for black shank and blue mold and gives very good control of black shank, especially when alternated with other products. Pfeufer is conducting a blue mold trial with Presidio in Kentucky this season, with results to follow. 
Another fungicide on the way: Next year, another fungicide for tobacco will probably be available. Orondis from Syngenta is expected to be labeled for blue mold and black shank in all types of tobacco. 
In North Carolinaa few flue-cured farmers are already making their second application of sucker control chemicals, and many are making their first, says Matthew Vann, N.C. Extension tobacco specialist. The crop seems to be doing well although much of it is dry. "The Piedmont is getting rainfall in its border counties, but overall it is historically dry," he says. The Coastal Plain has generally been dry too except where heavy rain fell in connection with tropical storms.

In Virginia, 85 percent of the flue-cured crop had been transplanted through June 14, and 79 percent of the burley crop had been transplanted, according to USDA's Crop Progress & Condition Report. Both were behind the five-year average.

In Georgia, there was noticeable separation in the transplanting of the flue-cured crop. "The part that was transplanted prior to Easter has a lot of tomato spotted wilt virus," says J. Micheal Moore, Ga. Extension tobacco specialist. "Tobacco that was transplanted two weeks after Easter has less tomato spotted wilt virus but is growing off slowly." But he thinks a good crop can still be obtained.

In Tennessee and Kentucky, the dark tobacco crop  was almost entirely set in wet soil, says Extension tobacco specialist Andy Bailey. This has had some effect on the crop. "We have had more pythium than normal," says Bailey. "The wet conditions probably caused it." Some fields remain to be planted but Bailey says growers are winding down. "I expect we will be finished around June 25," he says.

Report from Canada: Most fields in southern Ontario, where substantially all Canadian tobacco is grown, are showing good progress at this time, according to the Canadian Tobacco Research Foundation. High winds at planting and early June lead to sandblasting on plants in open areas of some fields. The affected plants have been set back and are smaller but will recover...There was considerable rain in the first half of June. Rainfall from May 30 to June 15 at Tillsonburg totaled 5.23 inches...Plantings continue to fall. A total of 230 licensed growers in southern Ontario received approval to plant 15,539 acres. Last year, 241 growers were approved to plant 21,670 acres. All tobacco grown in Ontario now is flue-cured.

We hope you have enjoyed this issue of the Tobacco Farmer Newsletter. If you would like to receive it regularly, please call me at 919-789-4631 or email me at chrisbickers @gmail.com. Thanks--Chris Bickers


DATES TO REMEMBER

  • June 25, Tobacco Field Day. UT Highland Rim AgResearch and Education Center, Springfield, Tn. Contact: Barry Sims at 615-382-3130 orbsims@utk.edu.
  • July 16. South Carolina Tobacco Tour, Pee Dee Research & Education Center, Florence, S.C. Details to follow.
  • July 20-22. N.C. Tobacco Tour. Details to follow. Contact: Mina Mila at 919-513-1291 or almila@ncsu.edu.
  • July 29. Annual Tobacco Research Field Day. Southern Piedmont AREC, Blackstone, Va. Registration begins at 5 p.m., followed by dinner. Tour will begin at 6 p.m. Contact: Margaret Kenny at 434-292-5331 or makenny@vt.edu.
  • July 30. Kentucky Corn-Soybean-Tobacco Field Day, UK Research & Education Center, Princeton Ky. Contact: Andy Bailey at 270-365-7541 orabailey@uky.edu.
GAP RECERTIFICATION MEETINGS
  • June 25, 7 p.m., Research & Education Center, 2255 East Allen's Bridge Rd., Greeneville, Tn. Greene County. Contact 865-310-2754 or jbeeler5@utk.edu.
  • June 29, 6:30 p.m. Christian County Extension Office, 2850 Pembroke Rd., Hopkinsville, Ky. 42240. Christian County. Contact 270-625-1560 or bailey@uky.edu.

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Greg Goins is the auctioneer at Big M Warehouse.
We hold sealed bid auctions
We promise 
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We will be GAP certified 
For more information, contact Mann Mullen at 919-496-9033 
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FARMERS TOBACCO WAREHOUSE

209 Harding St., Danville, Ky.
PH: 859-236-4932

Full-service burley warehouse

Jerry Rankin, Owner


  Call for information.


 

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

BLUE MOLD BREAKS OUT IN TENNESSEE


Discoloration on underside of this Kentucky burley leaf indicates sporulation of the 
blue mold pathogen (Photo--University of Kentucky).

BLUE MOLD MAKES ITS FIRST APPEARANCE

Blue mold has been found on burley in Greene County in northeastern Tennessee. Because the windborne blue mold spores can travel vast distances if conditions are right, Extension specialists in Tennessee and Kentucky recommend that all growers who still have burley plants in the greenhouse treat them with protective chemicals by Friday. Extension plant pathologist Steve Bost and tobacco specialist Eric Walker, say growers in all burley-producing areas of Tennessee need to be prepared for an outbreak. In Kentucky, the southern and southeastern part of the state should be considered to be at high risk for exposure to the disease, says Bob Pearce, Extension tobacco specialist, while the central and northeastern part of the state are at moderate risk. Western Kentucky does not appear to be at high risk just yet, but growers should remain vigilant in case new areas of infection are found. Here is what Bost, Walker and Pearce are advising:

In the greenhouse--All plant producers in both states should treat either with Manzate (active ingredient mancozeb) at 0.5 pound per 100 gallons or with Quadris at four ml per 1000 square feet at this time. But there are several points to consider.Note 1: Quadris can only be used one time in the greenhouse. That could be a problem in younger beds if there is a need for a target spot application of Quadris later. Note 2: Manzate provides very good blue mold protection, but it is not systemic and requires good coverage. Also, some contracts prohibit the use of mancozeb so check before treating with Manzate. Note 3: It might technically be possible to use Presidio for blue mold in the greenhouse and stay in compliance with the label, says Pearce. "But I would hesitate to recommend it. It doesn't appear to me that the language on the label specifically supports a greenhouse application." With so much concern with off-label residues, it would probably be prudent to keep Presidio out of the greenhouse. Note 4: Aliette is also labeled at a rate of 0.5 pound per 50 gallons. Do not apply any other fungicide to plantbed tobacco, especially not Actigard.

In fields not yet transplanted--Presidio is labeled as a transplanter water treatment for black shank control. This treatment provides control of black shank and may also provide some blue mold protection for a while--but the blue mold activity is not well documented. Pearce says you probably should consider using this treatment only in fields that have a history of black shank, to ensure you get some benefit from it.

For fields already transplanted--Scout for blue mold in the field immediately and treat if you find it. In northeastern Tennessee and southeastern Kentucky, the risk is sufficiently acute that producers should apply a foliar spray now, the specialists say, with one of the following: Revus (eight fluid ounces per acre), Forum (two to eight fluid ounces per acre, rate dependent on plant size), Presidio (four fluid ounces per acre), or Quadris (six to 12 fluid ounces per acre depending on plant size). The blue mold resistance activator, Actigard, cannot be used on burley less than 18 inches in height. Forum and Presidio must be tank mixed with a blue mold fungicide with a different mode of action. Presidio is labeled for use as a foliar treatment for plants in the field. The foliar application is known to be effective against blue mold but the label requires Presidio must be mixed with another blue mold fungicide with a different mode of action. But Forum and Revus cannot be mixed or alternated, as they have the same mode of action. Manzate is a good tank mix and rotation partner, but again check your contract to make sure it is acceptable. Contact your local Cooperative Extension Office for help in forming a plan for blue mold management. You can find more information in the 2015 (Kentucky) Guide to Tobacco Fungicides.

A few months from now, we will almost certainly be awash in excess production. What will be the best way to sell it? Mann Mullen, the owner of Big M Warehouse in Wilson, N.C., says that regardless of the supply and demand, an auction is going to be the best choice to get the best price for your uncommitted leaf. "I believe that the farmers who sell here will get the best price they possibly can," Mullen says. "I certainly think they will gain more in higher price than the commission we charge." Competition is the key: He has had at least six buyers at every sale, and he expects that many this season. Most are dealers. Mullen's warehouse, known as Liberty Warehouse for most of its commercial life, has roughly 100,000 square feet and can hold roughly a million pounds at a time. Rather than a traditional "live" auction, Mullen runs a sealed bid auction, where buyers review the tobacco one at a time and make their bids in writing. He accepts tobacco in bales, sheets or boxes. "We grade it out and put it in lots," he says. Farmers have the right of refusal of a bid. "If they want, we offer it again at the following sale," Mullen says. "Everything offered on our floor has entered the trade." 

Could the global oversupply of leaf last beyond the current season? George C. Freeman III, chief executive officer of Universal Corporation, recently suggested that with current inventory volumes as high as they are, the oversupply conditions may continue past this season, even though the current crop has clearly been reduced and some leaf customers report recent recoveries in certain of their retail product markets.  

Budworms have started to appear in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, but the populations are low, and foliar applications are not likely to pay off. "In fact, treating too early for tobacco budworm can actually result in more, rather than less, insecticide applications," says Hannah Burrack, N.C. Extension entomologist. "We do not see a benefit from making foliar treatments for tobacco budworm before they reach threshold"...Scout regularly to determine if tobacco budworm populations have reached the 10 percent treatment threshold, she says. "Just because moths are flying does not necessarily mean that larvae are present in tobacco fields because budworms may feed on many different plants and predators may attack and kill large numbers of larvae feeding on tobacco." You can read more at the N.C. Tobacco Portal--http://tobacco.ces.ncsu.edu/.

In Kentucky, entomologist Lee Townsend advises burley growers to examine the buds for budworm feeding damage. Treat if there are five or more live budworms (less than 1.25 inches long) per 50 plants and topping is at least one week away. Tobacco plants can compensate for budworm damage, so avoid unnecessary treatments. Infestations tend to be greatest in earliest-set fields. 

Sweet potato juice? Universal Corporation is building a facility near its Nashville, N.C., leaf processing plant to extract juices from the sweet potato. The facility, operated by a subsidiary called Carolina Innovative Food Ingredients (CIFI), will produce sweet potato juices for use as an ingredient in commercial vegetable juices, which are the fastest growing sector of the U.S. juice market, says John Kimber, CIFI's chief operating officer. It's hoped that production will begin this fall. A fringe benefit: The juicing process doesn't require the premium grade of sweet potato that groceries and restaurants demand. Fruits that are too small or too large or are misshapen in some way will probably work just fine, says Kimber. "We are building a business with less than perfect sweet potatoes," he says. "These types of potato are sometimes hard for the farmer to market, and this can create a use." The company will likely purchase sweet potatoes only from N.C., the leading sweet potato state, because of concerns about sweet potato weevils. For information on contracting, contact product sourcing manager Josh Warren at 252 343 1668 or at josh.warren@cifi1.com. There is an informative website at http://www.cifingredients.com/.

DATES TO REMEMBER
  • June 8-10. Georgia-Florida Tobacco Tour, starting at Waycross, Ga. Contact: J. Michael Moore at 229-386-3006 or jmmoore@uga.edu.
  • June 25, Tobacco Field Day. UT Highland Rim AgResearch and Education Center, Springfield, Tn. Contact: Barry Sims at 615-382-3130 orbsims@utk.edu.
  • July 16. South Carolina Tobacco Tour, Pee Dee Research & Education Center, Florence, S.C. Details to follow.
  • July 20-22. N.C. Tobacco Tour. Details to follow. Contact: Mina Mila at 919-513-1291 or almila@ncsu.edu.
  • July 29. Annual Tobacco Research Field Day. Southern Piedmont AREC, Blackstone, Va. Registration begins at 5 p.m., followed by dinner. Tour will begin at 6 p.m. Contact: Margaret Kenny at 434-292-5331 or makenny@vt.edu.
  • July 30. Kentucky Corn-Soybean-Tobacco Field Day, UK Research & Education Center, Princeton Ky. Contact: Andy Bailey at 270-365-7541 orabailey@uky.edu.

GAP RECERTIFICATION MEETING
  • June 25, 7 p.m., Research & Education Center, 2255 East Allen's Bridge Rd., Greeneville, Tn. Greene County. Contact 865-310-2754 or jbeeler5@utk.edu.

Note on the June I issue of Tobacco Farmer Newsletter. If you haven't signed on to receive it regularly or need to change an address, please click on "Join our mailing list" and follow the prompts. For more information, you can call me at 919-789-4631or email me at chrisbickers@gmail.com. Thanks--Chris Bickers

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BIG M TOBACCO WAREHOUSE 
1723 Goldsboro St. SW, Wilson, N.C., 
in the old Liberty Warehouse

Greg Goins is the auctioneer at Big M Warehouse.
We hold sealed bid auctions
We promise 
HONEST AND TRUSTWORTHY 
SERVICE
We will be GAP certified 
For more information, contact Mann Mullen at 919-496-9033 
or the warehouse switchboard at 252-206-1447.





FARMERS TOBACCO WAREHOUSE

209 Harding St., Danville, Ky.

Full-service burley warehouse

Jerry Rankin, Owner


  Call for information.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A SMALL CROP GETS OFF TO A LATE START


A farmer and his workers set out flue-cured plants near Vass, N.C. (file photo).
BURLEY In the Bluegrass of Kentucky, burley growers are dealing with a lot less tobacco and a late start, says farmer-auction operator Jerry Rankin of Danville, Ky. "We are about two weeks behind now. Maybe 20 percent of the burley has been set in this county. You can drive from Danville to Lexington and you will only see a patch or two planted." Statewide, maybe eight to 10 percent of the crop has been planted. Plants have been slow to grow. "We had a time getting the ground worked," says Rankin. "I hope it doesn't turn off dry." The supply of plants is satisfactory. "I have had better plants, but I have had worse," says Rankin. "On a scale of one to 10, this crop of plants would rate an eight."

In eastern Tennessee, Jeff Aiken of Tedford, near Johnson City, has planted a third of his burley crop, but he has seen very little transplanted on neighboring farms. "I don't know it farmers are holding off because of the dry weather," he said. "Rain has been spotty in east Tennessee, and some areas have been extremely dry. So some farmers may have been hesitant to go full steam ahead on planting. But we did get a little rain Thursday and it has greatly benefited what had been transplanted by that point." Weather conditions earlier slowed the development of plants in the greenhouse. "But mine did just fine." There have been no serious problems in the greenhouse or field. "I had some issues with pythium," said Aiken. "But I jumped right on it with Terramaster, and I didn't get much of a delay." In middle Tennessee, tobacco is being set but needs some moisture, says Extension Agent A. Ruth Correll of Wilson County, which is just east of Nashville, in Tennessee Crop Weather.

And in southwestern Virginia, Washington County Extension agent Phil Blevins says farmers have just begun transplanting, and the crop looks good. "We have an adequate supply of transplants so far." But plantings are going to be down thanks to reductions in contracts, he says.


FLUE-CURED In central and eastern North Carolina, just a few fields remain unplanted. Some farmers have started laying by their flue-cured, says Matthew Vann, N.C. Extension tobacco specialist. "We have had very good weather except for theLONG TOBACCO BARNtropical storm (on Mother's Day). Places like Kinston and Goldsboro got 4.5 to 7.5 inches. But the farmers were able to deal with it. It has actually been dry since then, but we got sufficient rain Thursday across the state to carry the crop." It has also been cool in the last 30 days, with night time temperatures frequently in the Fifties. But Vann expects the tobacco to take off whenever conditions become normal. Around Kinston, "tobacco transplanting continues to wind down as growers struggle to finish in the wettest fields," says Chris Jernigan, Department of Agriculture agronomist. In the Oxford area, tobacco is progressing, and transplanted fields seem to be in good shape, says Gary Cross, Person County Extension agent in N.C. Crop Progress and Condition. But he adds, "I have seen some transplant replacement work going on."

In the Southside of Virginia, probably 90 percent of the crop is planted, says Chris Brown, Halifax County Extension agent. No rain had fallen in May before Thursday, but then there was about a half inch of rain. "That rainfall helped a  lot," Brown tellsTobacco Farmer Newsletter. "Some of the earlier planted tobacco was getting irrigation because of the dry weather. In just a few fields that we can't irrigate, we saw up to a 50 percent loss due to the dry weather." The crop will be way down, "maybe 20 percent, maybe more," says Brown. It has also been dry in Lunenburg County, a few miles east of Halifax. "We lost some tobacco transplants in the clayey areas of some fields with this dry, hot weather," said Lunenburg Extension agent Lindy Tucker in Virginia Crop Progress and Condition. "Most of the transplants look good and have begun to grow thanks to all of the sunshine we have had."
 

In the Pee Dee area of South Carolina, it is dry, but tobacco isn't suffering yet, says Ben Teal of Patrick, S.C. "It wouldn't hurt to have a half inch or more on most fields," he says. "The youngest tobacco is suffering the most." His tobacco, all flue-cured, is all planted. "We've had a good survival rate, and we have a good stand. If we get a good shower, the tobacco will hop on up." S.C. tobacco is beginning to grow off real well thanks to warmer temperatures, said Kyle Daniel of Georgetown County. "We avoided those huge rains (on May 11) so farmers were able to get into the fields all (that) week," he said in the S.C. Crop Progress and Condition Report.





FARMERS TOBACCO WAREHOUSE
 209 Harding St., Danville, Ky.
PH: 859-236-4932

Full-service burley warehouse

Jerry Rankin, Owner



Thursday, May 7, 2015

PLANTING IS ON IN EARNEST

 
Plant
High quality transplants help get the flue-cured cop off to a fast start, like this one in a greenhouse at  Cross Creek Seed, Raeford, N.C.

CROP REPORT MAY: PLANTING'S ON IN EARNEST

FLUE-CURED: 
NORTH CAROLINA--Transplanting in the Piedmont is right on time, in contrast to the Coastal Plain, which is behind. "The Piedmont hasn't had as much rainfall in the past two weeks, which allowed farmers to do field work," says N.C. Extension tobacco specialist Matthew Vann. "But the Coastal Plain is having to catch up." There is a wide range: Some Coastal Plain growers have finished transplanting. "But in Lenoir and Wayne Counties this week, I saw some land that was ridged up but didn't have a single plant in it," says Vann...The supply of plants is adequate, and the quality is "as good as any crop I have been a part of." There was a lot of clipping as plants needed to be held pending better environmental conditions. "There would have been more
LONG EAGLE BARNS
except some farmers delayed seeding their greenhouses a little later than normal. I would say many houses got 12 to 15 clippings, and a few got 20 or more." Vann hopes transplanting will wrap up in the next week and a half in the Coastal Plain and maybe by the end of May in the Piedmont. Despite the late start that many farmers got, Vann thinks some fields will be ready for layby in three weeks.

VIRGINIA-- In Lunenburg Coun-ty, transplants have done well so far, says tobacco Extension agent Lindy Tucker. "Tobacco really just started going in this week (ending May 3), but we'll probably see some major progress this coming week," she said in USDA's weekly Crop Progress and Condition Report. Statewide, flue-cured is eight percent transplanted, burley is only two percent transplanted and the small fire-cured crop is one percent transplanted.

SOUTH CAROLINA—Transplanting in South Carolina was slowed significantly due to the wet weather, but what has been planted—which is most of the crop--looks good, says William Hardee, Extension area agronomy agent for Horry & Marion Counties. The upcoming warmer temperatures should get the crop on the move. There has been considerable interest in organic tobacco this year, says Hardee. Farmers generally have been able to find new land or old pasture land to satisfy the rotational requirement.

GEORGIA-FLORIDA--Planting is substantially complete, with development in the field well on its way in some fields, especially in Florida. "All plants produced in the state were used, and some plants were brought in from other states to fill in the voids," says J. Michael Moore, Georgia Extension tobacco specialist. There are no major pest problems in the field so far, he says. There is some tomato spotted wilt virus, but generally less than five percent of plants show symptoms. Most plants got one application of Imidacloprid in the greenhouse, and some applied Actigard as well. "That is our most effective treatment for tomato sported wilt virus," says Moore. "Imidacloprid and Actigard in the greenhouse." Moore continues to think that Georgia will end up with 12,000 acres planted while Florida will wind up with 1,200. That would be roughly a 25 percent reduction for both states (not 10 percent, as the TFN editor mistakenly calculated in the last issue--apologies for the bad arithmetic). Now, there is a wide range of moisture conditions. "We could use some rain in some areas but in others, the fields are too wet to work," he says.
BURLEY
KENTUCKY--Burley farmers are just beginning to plant, says Bob Pearce, Kentucky Extension tobacco specialist. "Our plants are a little late," he says. "If more were ready we would plant a lot more this week, I think." Variegated cutworms could appear in the greenhouse this time of year--Pearce says Orthene sprays are about the only control measure. You don't want to let cutworms go undetected. They can chew through a lot of plants in a hurry," he says...According to USDA's Crop Progress and Condition report for Kentucky, transplant supplies were reported as 1 percent very short, 4 percent short, 87 percent adequate, and 8 percent surplus. Forty-two percent of transplants were under 2 inches, with 38 percent between two and four inches, and 20 percent over four inches. 

TENNESSEE--Drier conditions allowed for some field work to begin this week, says Ronnie Barron, tobacco agent in Cheatham County, Tn., near Nashville. "Tobacco transplants are looking good. Growers hope to start with early transplanting within the next week." 

DARK
KENTUCKY-TENNESEE--Plantings of dark tobacco has just begun, with the first probably taking place in Christian County in southwest Kentucky, says Andy Bailey, Extension dark tobacco specialist. He doubts that more than five percent of the crop has been planted, but the weather has been very good, so things will pick up quickly and continue perhaps to the last week of June. A few variegated cutworms, mainly black, have shown up, and there is a little collar rot also. Burley plantings have been cut down dramatically, says Bailey. "There is a slight decrease in dark types. A little more burley seems to have transplanted than dark."
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Friday, April 17, 2015

HAS THE CURING CAPACITY QUESTION FINALLY BEEN SOLVED?



Exchangers
Heat exchangers waiting to go into World Tobacco curing barns rest at a factoryin Wilson, N.C., in September 2013.

 The flood of new flue-curing barns that have been bought the last two seasons should relieve some of the pressure on curing capacity. "We have added some new barns in Virginia and upgraded others," says David Reed, Virginia Extension tobacco specialist. "Since we are growing a little less tobacco this year, we may be in a better situation relative to capacity." But he is still apprehensive as to what will happen if cold weather sets in early. "We are harvesting too much of our crop in October as it is," he says. 

Do not--repeat, do not--delay testing your heat exchangers. Under the Tobacco GAP Program, it is your responsibility have all your barns tested at least once every three years by a person certified to check barns, and a testing record maintained.  This is the third year. Many individuals have trained as testers. Many are farmers, but some commercial individuals-independent consultants, equipment manufacturer employees and the like-are getting trained and certified, so Reed thinks there will be testing expertise available if you don't want to do it yourself. "We will probably have 50 commercial testers in Virginia."


When will this crop go in the ground? Flue-cured: Planting started in Florida in late March, in Georgia in early April and South Carolina a little later, and has just begun in North Carolina. It won't begin in Virginia till the end of next week (around April 24) or
LONG EAGLE BARNS
later, says Reed. Burley: In Tennessee, transplanting may possibly begin at the end of April but is not likely to really pick up till early May. A few greenhouses may yet be seeded but most are done. Kentucky ran a little behind-through April 12, nearly a quarter of the greenhouses had yet to be seeded, according to USDA's NASS.

A very wet spring: Much of the tobacco belt experienced frequent rains with very little relief in between. In North Carolina, the flue-cured plant crop is behind already, says Matthew Vann, N.C. Extension tobacco specialist. Soils that seemed all spring to be too wet to fumigate have been the problem. Some farmers delayed seeding their houses when they saw the moisture situation, he says. Virginians got off to a late start on fumigating, says Reed. "But it is moving well now, and I don't think that it is going to cause any delay." 

The planting picture:VA--Flue-cured acreage will be down but probably not more than 10 percent, says Reed. TN--Burley acreage will be down 25 percent (but that may be optimistic), says Walker. GA/FL--Flue-cured acreage in both states will be down by about 10 percent, says J.Michael Moore. I didn't get Extension estimates for NC, SC and KY, although last month's Prospective Plantings Report had NC flue-cured down nine percent, SC flue-cured down 18 percent and KY burley down eight percent.

Need a new GAP Grower ID card? It will cost $13 from GAP Connections, but you can avoid that charge two ways:
  • The GAP Connections Mobile "app," available for the Android and iPhone brand smartphones, which provides an electronic image of the card with the QR code. To download the app, go to the App Store and type in "GAP Connections Grower."
  • Or a paper version of the card can also be printed at any time by logging into the Grower ID System on the GAP Connections website.
Both the app and a Grower ID System log-in will require your Grower ID number and password. If you need help with either of these items please call GAP Connections at 865-622-4606.

One last quote from Kentucky economist Will Snell's insightful analysis of the outlook for the burley last month: "The industry has experienced drastic volume reductions in the past, followed by some stability and even some periods of growth. Perhaps this will occur in the near future, but no one can make this statement with a lot of confidence in today's marketing environment. While the market is demanding less burley today, such drastic contraction of the industry within a single year possibly jeopardizes future U.S. burley leaf supply security for buyers if the market eventually rebounds." You can find the whole piece at http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agecon/index.php?p=209.



UPCOMING GAP RECERTIFICATION MEETINGS 
(All burley)

TENNESSEE--April 28, 7:30 p.m. Trousdale County High School, 262 West McMurry Blvd., Hartsville, Tn. Trousdale County. Contact 615-382-3130 or ewalke22@utk.edu.

WISCONSIN--April 28, 3 p.m. Creekview Par 3 Golf Course, 770 Albion Rd., Edgerton, Wis. Contact seamstg1@universalleaf.com.

KENTUCKY--April 30, 7:30 p.m. Marriot Griffin Gate Hotel, 1800 Newton Pike, Lexington, Ky., Fayette County.


Editor's note: I hope you have enjoyed this issue of Tobacco Farmer Newsletter. 
If you would like to receive it regularly, please send a subscription request to chris bickers@gmail.com. For more information, you can email me at that address or 
call me at 919-789-4631. Thanks--Chris Bickers