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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Jerry Rankin, Owner




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



Wednesday, April 1, 2015

USDA CLAIMS: PLANTINGS WILL BE CUT 10% OR LESS



Setting plants

Planting flue-cured tobacco near Nashville, N.C. (File photo)

A very optimistic production estimate from Washington: The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued its Prospective Plantings Report for 2015 at noon Tuesday (March 31). It projects that all American tobacco acreage in 2015 will be 345,280 acres, down nine percent from 2014. The projection for flue-cured, at 220,000 acres, would be 10 percent less than 2014. Burley, at 93,700 acres, would be eight percent below last year. For fire-cured, the 17,980 acre production would be down three percent from 2014. A few types are expected to increase in acreage. Dark air-cured, at 6,400 acres, would be four percent above last year, and all cigar types, at 5,000 acres, would be five percent above last year. Southern Maryland at 2,200 acres would be up 10 percent. I sure hope these projections are close to the mark, but all information I have encountered leads me to think that reductions for flue-cured and burley will be much greater.

There may be a specific reason why this report, based like all the USDA tobacco reports on a grower survey, might be way off. Will Snell, Kentucky Extension tobacco economist, wrote in the March 25 Economics and Policy Update from the University of Kentucky that the USDA survey used to create this Prospective Plantings Report was based on grower expectations as of late February and early March. "(That was) prior to the roll-out of tobacco contracts," wrote Snell. "Given that grower expectations for 2015 burley contract volume were likely higher several weeks ago (than now), I anticipate USDA burley planting intentions for 2015 to be inflated relative to actual contract volume and actual plantings." Based on what he has heard, Snell believes that a reduction in 2015 of 30 or even 40 percent of burley acres is possible. 

Following are the Prospective Plantings projections by type and state. Flue-cured: NC--175,000 acres, down nine percent. VA--19,500 acres, down 13 percent. SC-- 13,000 acres, down 18 percent. GA--12,500 acres, down 17 per cent. Burley: KY--70,000 acres, down eight percent. NC--1,300 acres, down seven percent. Ohio--2,000 acres, same as 2014. Pa.-- 5,000 acres, down two percent. TN--14,000 acres, down 10 per cent. VA--1,400 acres, down seven percent. Fire-cured: KY--10,500 acres, down two percent. TN-- 7,200 acres, down five percent. VA--280 acres, down 15 per cent. So. Maryland: 2,200 acres, up 10 percent.  Connecticut & Massachusetts cigar leaf: 2,900 acres, up four percent. Cigar filler:PA--2,100 acres, up five per cent. Dark air-cured: KY--5,200 acres, up four percent. TN--1,200 acres, up four percent.

Why is all this volatility happening? Snell suggested some of the factors that are influencing burley contracts. Most will apply just as well to the other types.
  • A global surplus of burley has rapidly materialized over the past 18 months. World burley production has increased by more than 30 percent, while global consumption has declined.
  • Export demand is extremely weak amid an abundance of cheaper foreign leaf, and an increase in the value of the U.S. dollar is making US leaf more expensive in foreign markets.
  • Some buyers over-committed in purchasing the 2014 U.S. burley crop and then found that demand expectations did not materialize.
  • The loss in Malawian burley production due to flooding was not as devastating as initially reported.
  • Current and forecast sales of American blended cigarette sales continue to fall.
  • Tobacco companies expect U.S. growers to produce above contract volumes, providing an opportunity to purchase lower-priced leaf.
  • Tobacco companies continue to tighten burley inventories amidst a very uncertain domestic and global regulatory environment and a small but rapidly emerging "non-combustible" market.
  • Excess supply provides an opportunity for companies to end its arrangements with lower quality growers and those who have not met previous contract obligations.

Renovate used barns rather than buy new ones? Jeff Simpson of Roseboro, N.C., doesn't see the sense in buying flue-curing barns new. Instead, when he needs more curing capacity, his strategy has been to buy used ones and renovate them. "I can rebuild them on my farm and install new burners," he says. "I put $6,000 to $7,000 in each. A new one will cost $40,000. He says he can renovate 16 used barns for the cost of two new ones. "And they do just as good a job." He uses burners from BulkTobac, which he finds simple and sell at a reasonable price. 

Canadian curing barn now has an American dealer. Farm equipment dealer Brock Equipment Co. of Bailey N.C., now sells barns made in Ontario by Tytun Ltd. Owner Lee Brock has models on display at his dealership, which is between Raleigh and Wilson.  "It is the best built barn I have ever seen," he says. "It is very efficient." For more information, call Brock at 800 849-7569.


A last thought, and not a particularly cheering one, from economist Snell: "The remaining growers (after contracting cuts) will need to realize that an excess supply market likely results in more critical grading for the 2015 crop and that non-contract tobacco production will be extremely risky. With 
anticipated tighter margins, growers will have to place an even greater emphasis on quality, labor efficiency and yield to have a favorable outcome for the 2015 crop."


UPCOMING GAP RECERTIFICATION MEETINGS

KENTUCKY (Burley)
  • April 6, 6:30 p.m. LYNC (Distance Training) This is a live webinar. Please contact your local County Extension Office to attend.
  • April 30, 7:30 p.m. Marriot Griffin Gate Hotel, 1800 Newton Pike, Lexington, Ky., Fayette County. Contact 859-257-5110 or rpearce@email.uky.edu.
TENNESSEE (Burley)
  • 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.
MISSOURI (Burley)
  • April 7, 6:30 p.m. Weston Café, 407 Main St., Weston. Platte County. Contact 816-776-6961 or millerww@missouri.edu.
OHIO (Burley)
  • April 13, 7 p.m. OSU Extension Office, 111 Jackson Pike, Gallipolis, Oh. Gallia County. Contact 740-446-7007.
  • April 14, 7 p.m. Eastern Brown High School Cafeteria, 11557 U.S. Hwy. 62, Winchester. Brown County. Contact 937-544-2339 or rowe.316@osu.edu.

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



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Cross Creek



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

Full-service burley warehouse

Jerry Rankin, Owner


Long Announces Release of New Product, 
The Solar Eagle Curing Barn

 
Long Tobacco Barn Co. of Tarboro, N.C., announces it has released its newest flue-cured tobacco barn, the Solar Eagle, for 2015 delivery. Based on Long's all-steel Model 1196, the new model utilizes hybrid energy sources--solar and gas. University-monitored testing has verified it is the most energy efficient barn on the market. Data gathered in 2014 verified it was the most energy efficient barn at a University monitored farm site. Since 2010, several full-scale models have undergone extensive field trials for over 200+ curing cycles. During that period, Long made refinements to the barn's design to further increase its efficiency and ease of use.

Testing conducted in 2014 on the Roberts Farm in Brunswick Co., Va., which was monitored by Virginia Tech, verified the Solar Eagle outperformed all the other barns at that location. The thirty-one barns at that site included fifteen the Roberts purchased new in recent years from three different manufacturers. The 2014 data owed the average fuel efficiency of the Solar Eagle was 15.3 lbs./gal versus 13.7 lbs./gal for the next most efficient barn. The production efficiency of Long's new barn was also much higher. The Solar Eagle averaged 407.5 lbs./box of cured leaf versus an average of 303.1 lbs./box for the other new barns built by other manufacturers.

During the several years Long spent refining the Solar Eagle, rumors circulated that it did not work. Ironically, the solar test barns worked too well. Early tests showed that, on a sunny day, the barns maintained a temperature of 135°F using only a solar collector. Since that is higher than what's needed for yellowing, Long wanted to make sure the Solar Eagle's automatic solar cooling system was foolproof and reliable prior to the releasing that new barn. Ernie Roberts reports that, during the five years of use, Long's solar barns have never overheated while yellowing. Dr. David Reed, the Virginia Extension tobacco specialist who oversees the barn monitoring program on the Roberts farm, says, "During the course of field trials over the past few seasons, modifications of Long's solar test barns have refined those barns' design to make their operation and curing management simpler for the grower. Data we have gathered clearly shows a gain in curing efficiency during sunny weather. Long's solar barns have a built-in system to exhaust excess heat from the solar collector. We have not observed any negative effects in cured leaf quality that would be expected to occur with overheating during yellowing in the solar barns."

The Solar Eagle saves fuel by using solar energy to preheat fresh air for curing, and by conducting heat into the curing chamber through the solar collection plate that doubles as the barn's structural steel shell. The solar collector that encases the barn also creates a negative air space that traps any heat lost from its curing chamber and returns that heat to it. Aerodynamic enhancements enable the Solar Eagle to dry leaves and stems faster. They include Long's new "Jet Intake" heat exchanger, a deeper lower plenum with diverter plates to reduce drag, a turning vane under the furnace, and a two-tier wall air seal that forces more air through the boxes.

The Solar Eagle retains all the features of Long's other Eagle series barns, including a heavy steel chassis, a fan motor rated at 176°F and Long's unique tobacco viewing door. 

To inquire about the Solar Eagle, contact Long by telephone (252-641-4796) or email (info@longtobaccobarn.com).

Thursday, March 26, 2015

THE PLANTING SEASON BEGINS IN FLORIDA AND GEORGIA


A farmer in north Florida sets out flue-cured plants in this file shot from the Georgia Tobacco Hotline.

REPORTS FROM THE FIELD 

Georgia and Florida: Plantings began this week in Florida and Georgia. Acreage of tobacco in the Deep South (all flue-cured) will probably be down about 25 percent, says J. Michael Moore, Extension tobacco specialist in Georgia and Florida. That would be 12,000 acres in Georgia (down from 15,000) and 1,200 acres in Florida (down from 1,500). 

South Carolina: In the Pee Dee area, planting will begin very soon, says Justin Ballew, Dillon County, S.C., agriculture agent. Seeding got going in earnest at the beginning of February. "Most of our growers have clipped several times," he says. The only greenhouse problem has been an instance of chlorine damage in Horry County, he says. 

North Carolina: Field preparation and fumigation for flue-cured are running behind, says N.C. Extension tobacco specialist Loren Fisher, but there should be enough time if the weather cooperates. Plant development in the greenhouse may be a little behind also, but it looks like the plants should be ready by the time the fields are ready.

In other news...

What do you do with burley that hasn't been stripped yet? "Leave it on the stick," says grower Roger Quarles of Georgetown, Ky. "Let it go through a few sweats in June and then strip it in August. That seems the best way to handle it."

The burley storage plan meets some success. The U.S. Growers Tobacco Company (USGTC), accepted 169,000 pounds of burley in its program to take delivery, process and store burley tobacco from the 2014 crop (see "A strategy for marketing what's left of the 2014 crop,"TFN March I). Deliveries ended last week. "We could have taken in a lot more, but the word got out late," says Quarles, USGTC president. "What we took in is excellent quality and will make for a very salable strip." Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association, the burley cooperative in Lexington, Ky., will market the burley, but the growers will maintain ownership.

The worst black shank damage in recent memory struck Georgia last year, but Moore thinks it will be much less in 2015. "Some of the new varieties like GL 395, CC 143 and NC 925 offer very good resistance to Race 1," he says. "Also, we have a new chemical in Presidio." With fewer acres planted, farmers will be better able to avoid black shank hot spots.

What will it take to create a recovery in the tobacco economy? Smaller crops and reduction in inventories would help, said Blake Brown, N.C. Extension economist, at the recent meeting of Tobacco Associates.  More favorable exchange rates would be another boon, and growth in the China market could offset continued declines in U.S. and EU markets. But what could de-rail a 2016 recovery? "Bumper 2015 crops, a continued weak global economy and weak and lower-value currencies in our customer countries relative to the U.S. dollar," said Brown.

UPCOMING GAP RECERTIFICATION MEETINGS
  
KENTUCKY (Burley)

  • March 31, 6:30 p.m. Barren County Extension Office, 555 Trojan Trail, Glasgow, Ky. Contact 270-651-3818 or chris.schalk@uky.edu. 
  • April 6, 6:30 p.m. LYNC (Distance Training) This is a live webinar. Please contact your local County Extension Office to attend.



MISSOURI (Burley)

  • April 7, 6:30 p.m. Weston Café, 407 Main St., Weston. Platte County. Contact 816-776-6961 or millerww@missouri.edu.

OHIO (Burley)

  • April 13, 7 p.m. OSU Extension Office, 111 Jackson Pike, Gallipolis, Oh. Gallia County. Contact 740-446-7007.
  • April 14, 7 p.m. Eastern Brown High School Cafeteria, 11557 U.S. Hwy. 62, Winchester. Brown County. Contact 937-544-2339 or rowe.316@osu.edu. 

VIRGINIA (Flue)
  • April 1, 10 a.m., Southern Piedmont Center, 2375 Darvills Rd., Blackstone, Va. Nottoway (Flue). Contact 434-292-5331 or threed@exchange.vt.edu.
  • April 9, 10 a.m. Ronnie Waller Farm. 3083 Golden Leaf Rd., Nathalie, Va. Contact 434-432-7770. Barn testing certification.
    April 9, 2 p.m. Thompson Farms, 400 Marvin Collie Dr., Ringgold, Va. Contact 434-432-7770. Barn testing certification.
Quality does not cost, it pays

Friday, March 6, 2015

A STRATEGY FOR MARKETING WHAT'S LEFT OF THE 2014 CROP



Some burley is still hanging in the barn after unfavorable weather delayed stripping. This burley was photographed last October near Springfield, Tn.

An unexpected home for excess burley: The U.S. Growers Tobacco Company (USGTC), a subsidiary of the Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association (BTGCA), has announced a program to store up to a million pounds of excess 2014 burley for later sale. "USGTC will provide facilities where growers can deliver, process and store tobacco while waiting for prices to become favorable," says Steve Pratt, BTGCA general manager. "This will provide growers an option of retaining ownership of their tobacco to hopefully catch better prices for their leaf while avoiding the current very low auction market." Because little demand is expected for lower quality 2014 burley, only leaf receiving quality grades of 1, 2 or 3 will be accepted.


Any U.S. burley grower, whether a customer of BTGCA or not, may participate in the program. It will be the responsibility of the grower to deliver leaf to the Springfield, Ky., BTGCA station. An appointment is required--call Margaret at the Washington County Co-op at 859 336-3491. As it stands now, deliveries will be scheduled next week and the week after. The leaf will be processed and co-mingled by marketable type and grade.  BTGCA is donating the administrative costs, so farmers will only be responsible for the cost of receiving, storage and processing, payable through deductions from payments.


USGTC provided this service once before a few years ago, says Roger Quarles, a Georgetown, Ky., burley grower and USGTC president. "That crop took two years to sell, but I hope this one won't take as long," he says. "This is an excellent option for tobacco that has already been baled since it will be stored properly, free of any deterioration and fully insured until sold."


Deliveries have just ended for the Tennessee burley cooperative, and Daniel Green, chief executive officer at Burley Stabilization Corporation, says that despite the weather, there was some great tobacco coming in right up to the end. But some showed effects of the freezes. "Some tobacco didn't cure out in time to be sold," says Green. "The growers weren't able to get it stripped. A lot of that is still hanging in the barn, which is probably the best place for it to be if it doesn't have a home." For the coming season, the cooperative will only buy from its established growers, at prices that vary based on the style of the tobacco. BSC hasn't started contracting yet but a reduction in volume is certain.


Greenhouse seeding of the flue-cured crop is well under way in eastern N.C., says Matthew Vann, N.C. Extension tobacco specialist. "In the Piedmont, it is just starting. It's been slowed by extreme cold, snow and cloudy days." He recommends careful attention to temperature. "You want to be sure it is warm enough to permit germination but be prepared to lower it if we have a 70 degree day."


The N.C. Tobacco Foundation has created a new tobacco agronomist position in research, teaching and Extension in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University and named it in honor of Dr. William K. Collins, retired N.C. Extension tobacco specialist. It has also announced the formation of a distinguished professorship endowment at N.C. State University. It will take $10 to $12 million to endow both positions in perpetuity, and $7 million has already been raised from companies, organizations and individuals. If you would like to make a gift, gifts and pledges may be made securely online at http//go.ncsu.edu/collins_initiative or by sending a check payable to the N.C. Tobacco Foundation and marked "Collins Initiative" to Keith Oakley, Campus Box 7645, Raleigh, N.C. 27695-7645.



Plant production in Kentucky could be slowed thanks to the harsh weather so far this winter. "We had the most snow I have ever seen here (on March 4)," says Quarles of Georgetown. "I found 15 inches on my patio." Some greenhouses may have collapsed if farmers didn't heat them enough to melt the snow. The confused contracting situation isn't helping either. "Farmers are going to be slow to seed, and that may result in a later crop."


PRODUCTION REPORTS FROM OUR COMPETITORS

  • Zimbabwe may be down 50 million pounds: The prices on opening day of flue-cured auction markets in Zimbabwe were so low that angry growers stopped the sale at one auction floor, according to the Zimbabwe Herald. The assistance of law enforcement personnel was required to resume the sale. A projection issued by the national Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board predicted that growers are unlikely to produce more than 427 million pounds of flue-cured and may produce as little as 403 million pounds. Both projections are considerably below last year's volume of 476 million pounds.
  • Malawi may be down 20 million pounds. The Tobacco Control Commission of Malawi expects production of about 400 million pounds about 22 million pounds less than in 2014 because of heavy rains.
  • Canada was up 4.3 million pounds in the crop just marketed, with production of 61 million pounds. There were 241 growers, all in the province of Ontario, and they planted 21,670 acres. Contracting for 2015 is just beginning.
Making nutrients more available: Actosol, a humic acid product from ARCTECH, is said by its manufacturer to improve the soil and make nutrients more available to tobacco plants. "You can foliar spray it or apply through drip irrigation, and it can lower your dependence on other fertilizers," says Dennis Bickel, sales manager. "All your fields will benefit but your lowest performing fields will see the biggest impact of adding Actosol to your program." ARCTECH guarantees increased production, says Bickel. "You can't lose." 

ADVERTISING

LONG EAGLE BARNS

Cross Creek




  



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

Full-service burley warehouse

Jerry Rankin, Owner



UPCOMING GAP RECERTIFICATION MEETINGS

GEORGIA (Flue-cured)
  • March 12, 12:45 p.m and 2 p.m. Holiday Inn Express, 1636 South Peterson Ave., Douglas, Ga. Contact 229 392-6424 or jmmoore@uga.edu. 
KENTUCKY (Burley)
TENNESSEE (Burley) 
  • March 17, 6:30 p.m. Ag Pavilion, 280 Bryan Rd., Rutledge, Tn. Grainger County. Contact 865 828-3411 or bcarver4@utk.edu.
  • March 3, 6:30 p.m. Appalachian Fairgrounds, Lakeview St., Gray, Tn. Washington County, Contact 423 753-1680 or ashelton@utk.edu.
NORTH CAROLINA (Burley)


  • March 17, 6 p.m. Madison County Extn. Ctr., 258 Carolina Ln., Marshall, N.C. Madison County. Contact 828-682-6186 or Stanley_ Holloway@ncsu.edu. 
 INDIANA (Burley)
OHIO (Burley)
MARYLAND (Burley)
  • March 26, 10 a.m. Jacob Fisher Farm-Woodburn Hill Shed Shop, 27735 Woodburn Hill Rd., Mechanicsville, Md. St. Mary's County. Contact William.C.Wilkinson@altria.com or 919218-3495.
PENNSYLVANIA (Burley)
  • March 24, 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Hoffman Building, Park Ave, Ouarryville, Pa. Lancaster County. Contact 717 394-6851 or jsg18@psu.edu.
  • March 26, 9 a.m. Southern Clinton Sportsman Association, 55 South Sportsmans Rd., Loganton, Pa. Clinton County. Contact 717 393-4560 or seamstg1@universalleaf.com.
VIRGINIA (Burley)


  • March 19, 10 a.m. Scott County Community Services Building (Community Room), 190 Beech St., Gate City, Va. Scott County. Contact 276-346-1522 or afannon@vt.edu.
  • March 19, 6 p.m. Adult Learning Center, 153 School Board Place, Jonesville, Va. Lee County. Contact 276- 452-2772 or sjerrell@vt.edu.