Thursday, July 16, 2015

KENTUCKY BURLEY SUFFERS DOUBLE-DIGIT LOSSES THANKS TO HEAVY RAINS


Tobacco Tour
The N.C. Tobacco Tour begins at 3 p.m., Monday, July 20, with a curing demonstration in Wendell. It will continue on July 21 with tours of research at the Upper Coastal Plain Research Station near Rocky Mount (including black shank plots like those shown above in 2014) and at the Oxford Tobacco Research Station. See below for details on the N.C. Tour and also the Virginia Tobacco Research Field Day at the Southern Piedmont station, Blackstone, Va., on July 29.

Kentucky--Heavy rains that were scattered over much of the state have damaged the Kentucky burley crop by "a double digit percentage," says Bob Pearce, Kentucky Extension tobacco specialist. The rain fell almost daily in much of the state--one Extension tobacco agent reported that from July 1, rain had fallen 14 out of 15 days. "Some of the crop may recover if the weather improves, but as a whole, it is not likely to regain its full potential." But Pearce cautions against trying to salvage the crop by putting out a lot of fertilizer. "That will rarely solve the problem," he says. "But a light application of fertilizer at a rate of 25 pounds per acre of nitrogen might be appropriate." If leafspot diseases appear, Pearce recommends an application of Quadris at eight ounces per acre. 

Tennessee--A report from the Extension Service in Smith County, near Nashville, says tobacco was hurt in some places from too much water as of July 12. "Producers were back in the fields toward the end of the week after being unable to do much due to rain the previous two weeks," says Chris Hicks, county tobacco agent.

FLUE-CURED
North Carolina: In the East, the flue-cured crop is about two weeks behind schedule, says Matthew Vann, N.C. Extension tobacco specialist. Farmers are just now getting into harvest, whereas in a normal year they might have reached this point at the beginning of July. Much remains to be topped. Farmers are trying to be as timely as possible with sucker control applications. In the Piedmont, just a little harvesting is taking place, mainly in transition counties like Granville. It has been very dry, but this week there has been a little rain in Person, Alamance and Orange Counties. Harvest probably will last till close to the first frost...In Cleveland County in the foot hills of the Blue Ridge, tobacco is being topped and growth is good, says Stephen Bishop of the Cleveland County NRCS office. "Growers in the southern part of the county had been irrigating crops for over two weeks until they received rainfall (last) week," he says...In Surry County, it's reported that the crop looks good after an 0.6 inch of rain Tuesday morning. Topping is going full steam, and harvesting could begin within a week. 

South Carolina--About 42 percent of the crop had been topped by July 12, according to USDA NASS. That was about half the five-year average for that date.

Virginia--In Lunenburg County, tobacco is growing like weeds, says Lindy Tucker, Extension tobacco agent. "We got a little rain this week and had several overcast days. We could probably use a little more, but we are thankful for that."

Florida--A farmer in Alachua County said in a newspaper interview recently that organic tobacco has attracted a much higher price than conventional on his farm. Trevor Bass of Newberry, Fl., said he is able to sell his organic flue-cured tobacco for about twice the amount of his regular leaf--as high as $4.15 per pound forthe highest quality organic compared to $2.22 for conventional. Bass told the Gainesville (Fl.) Sun that organic cigarettes have a more natural flavor, and they burn twice as long as regular cigarettes. "It's no more or less healthy, but the word sells," Bass said. 

DARK

Kentucky-Tennessee--The Black Patch experienced excess rain in the two weeks ending around July 10, but it has since turned dry and there is considerable heat and humidity. "We have seen saturated soils, wet feet and some drowning," Andy Bailey, K-T Extension dark tobacco specialist. "We may  have suffered as much as a 10 percent loss in production so far, but some of it could be recovered." On the other hand, crops on better drained soils that didn't get too much rain look good now, Bailey says. There could be another problem: Heavy winds caused damage in some areas. "That left stalks crooked which may make it difficult to use rundown application of sucker control chemicals," he says. "We might wind up using more MH than normal. Some farmers might try to apply conventional chemicals with a backpack but that is very labor intensive."

In other tobacco news: 

A good early report on Presidio? A Piedmont N.C. reader obtained what he considers almost unbelievable results early in the season controlling black shank on his flue-cured using the newly labeled fungicide Presidio. In fact, it was so unbelievable that he wants to remain anonymous until the end of the season when he can be sure the results are credible. But he shared some details now: "We used the full rate of Presidio for black shank. We applied Presidio in the setter water and at the last cultivation and applied UltraFlourish at first cultivation, and it helped us get the best control we have had of black shank in four years." Normally, by mid July he would expect to see black shank "holes." "But there are not many at all this year," he says.

Guest editorial

It is time to face the writing on the wall
By Rod Kuegel, President of the Council for Burley Tobacco

The demand for burley tobacco is in terminal decline worldwide. The industry has seen years of underproduction following the buyout. All that is changing, and we are reaching a level of oversupply that cannot be corrected. What does all this mean to you as a burley tobacco farmer? It means that there is no longer a guaranteed market for non-contracted tobacco. It means that you need to identify your market before planting the crop. It means that as growers we all need to work together to look at the future of our industry, to stop the overproduction of burley tobacco, and identify secure new markets for our product. We are unable to reverse the decline of the tobacco industry, but we can look at ways we can identify market opportunities. One of the first steps to curb overproduction is to work with the government to prevent insurance coverage on non-contract tobacco.  This would help to address concerns of insurance fraud in the industry, as well as provide an incentive to farmers to identify secure markets before planting. We should also look at ways to differentiate our product to the consumer. One approach would be to encourage companies to provide source verification on each pack of cigarettes. It would give consumers a chance to identify where the tobacco was grown, verify that it was GAP-certified and document that it meets all child-labor laws and pesticide guidelines. We can no longer take the position "if I grow it there will be a market." We have to recognize that the market is changing. The demand for burley is not going to come around as it has in the past, and we must change our production practices. We have to step outside of our comfort zone and work with policy leaders, health advocates, and industry leaders to identify what the future will be for the burley tobacco farmer. (Editor's note: Rod Kuegel is a burley and dark tobacco grower in Owensboro, Ky. This editorial is a condensed version of a piece that appeared earlier on the council's webpage. To see the whole piece, go to  www.councilforburleytobacco.com and click on News.)


 
BOOK EXCERPT 
HOW BURLEY GOT STARTED IN THE BLUE RIDGE 
Burley Tobacco
Before burley arrived, most people in the Carolina mountains were employed in what you would call subsistence farming, says Robert Shipley of Watauga County, N.C., a farmer who was born in 1912 and remembers the early era better than almost anybody still living. "They were self sufficient in food and produced pretty much what they ate. They killed hogs for their meat supply and would sometime kill cattle for beef. Everybody had a garden, and it was standard practice to preserve and can produce. So our folks didn't go hungry: They just weren't used to having a lot of money."

That changed after farmers learned about the potential of burley. It soon proved to be the only realistic choice as a cash crop, says Shipley. "We didn't have any other dependable cash crop in this area. That was the big reason that burley spread in the mountains."

But adoption wasn't immediateShipley remembers. It didn't really get going until a federal program was developed to stabilize production and marketing. "It led to an increase in price, so that farmers who grew it had some money left over after paying their expenses of growing tobacco. It was a good change, definitely. From that time, tobacco paid taxes and supported the schools and churches of this land." --Excerpted and slightly edited from The History of Burley Tobacco in East Tennessee & Western North Carolina. Note: If you would like to buy a copy of the book, make out a check to Chris Bickers for $25 and address it to Chris Bickers, 903-9 Shellbrook Ct., Raleigh NC 27609. Questions? Contact me  by e-mail at chrisbickers@gmail.com or by phone at 919-789 4631.

DATES TO REMEMBER
  • July 20-21. N.C. Tobacco Tour. Begins at 3 p.m., July 20, Edwards Farm, 200 Salem Church Rd., Wendell, N.C., followed by a Welcome Dinner. The tour will begin on the morning of July 21 with a tour of research at the Upper Coastal Plain Research Station near Rocky Mount followed by a tour of research at theOxford Tobacco Research StationContact: 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 abailey@uky.edu or 270-365-7541.
  • August 3-4. Burley Tobacco Industry Tour, Lexington, Ky. On August 3, beginning at 1 p.m., participants will tour research at the Spindletop Research Farm, 3250 Ironworks Pike.  There will be a sponsored dinner. On August 4, participants will tour are farms and see research at the Woodford County Farm, ending with lunch at the Woodford County Farm. Contact: Bob Pearce at 859 221 2465 or rpearce@uky.edu.

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

Full-service burley warehouse

Jerry Rankin, Owner


  Call for information.



TMI

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.




Saturday, July 4, 2015

USDA Projections: Flue-cured down 16%, Burley down 17%

THE USDA JUNE 30 ESTIMATE FOR PLANTINGS 

Acreage projections plus estimated change for 2014

FLUE-CURED
  • U.S.--206,800 acres, 16 percent below 2014.
  • North Carolina--160,000 acres is 16 percent below 2014.
  • Virginia--19,500 acres, down 13 percent.
  • South Carolina--14,300 acres, down nine percent.
  • Georgia--13,000 acres, down 13 percent.
BURLEY
  • U.S.--84,000 acres, down 17 percent from last year.
  • Kentucky--62,000 acres, down 18 percent.
  • North Carolina--1,100 acres, down 21 percent.
  • Ohio--1,900 acres, down five percent.
  • Pennsylvania--4,700 acres, down seven percent.
  • Tennessee--13,000 acres, down 16 percent.
  • Virginia--1,300 acres, down 13 percent. 
OTHER TYPES
  • Fire-cured (Kentucky/Tennessee/Virginia)--17,450 acres, down six percent.
  • Dark air-cured (Kentucky/Tennessee)--6,200 acres, up one percent.
  • Cigar types (Connecticut/Massachusetts/Pa.)-4,500 acres, down six percent.
  • Southern Maryland (Pennsylvania)--2,000 acres, no change.

ALL U.S. TOBACCO is projected at 320,950 acres, down 15 percent. Note that acreage is down in all producing states.


REPORTS FROM THE FIELD

FLUE-CURED
North Carolina--The flue-cured crop is generally looking good, says Matthew Vann, Extension tobacco specialist. It came through the worst of the drought and temperature extremes. But scattered areas of the east still need rain. Some are well past the topping stage. Some may have already begun harvesting in Pitt and Green County, he says. "I know of a few more who will begin harvesting this week." The USDA plantings estimate of 160,000 acres of flue-cured in N.C. seems reasonable to Vann... In Person County, in the Piedmont, tobacco is looking very good, says Extension agent Gary Cross. But later plantings are drought stressed.

Georgia--Recent rains have been a blessing in Coffee County, says Extension agent, Mark von Waldner. "Very timely rain fell this week. Farmers are applying herbicides and fertilizer and [there is] no major disease to report. Sucker control with maleic hydrazide is going on. There is some sunscald and more black shank disease than normal." Coffee County is between Albany and Waycross.

Virginia--In Lunenburg County, tobacco looks goodoverall, says Lindy Tucker, Extension agent. "Some of the late [tobacco] and organic [tobacco] is uneven but overall good. Flowering has started, and everyone will be topping soon. We are getting lots of rain--and not complaining at all!"

BURLEY
Kentucky--The crop has gotten off to a reasonably good start, says Bob Pearce, Kentucky Extension tobacco specialist. "It was very wet this past week with almost daily chances of rain, and the rain was pretty widespread. We may see some problems of wilting and scalding later as a result." More rain is projected for much of the state next week. Transplanting appeared complete by July 1, although there may be a few stragglers. There is a lot of unevenness in the fields, but so far, there are no confirmed reports of blue mold in the field. "And we have been looking for it," says Pearce...Pearce is a bit skeptical about the USDA burley acreage prediction of 62,000, which would be down 18 percent from 2014. He thinks it will be more like 58,000 acres in Kentucky, a drop of nearly 25 percent.

Tennessee--Rains came in time to get the burley crop off to a good start, says Rob Ellis, director of the Tennessee AgResearch Center in Greeneville. "We were extremely dry in much of May and part of June. It was reaching the point where it could be hurtful. But then we began getting rain two weeks ago, and things are looking good now. But there is a 70 percent chance of rain every day next week, so we could get some problems because of that." Transplanting ran late at the station, wrapping up on June 25. June 15 would have been the normal date. The weather wasn't so much the problem as was an outbreak of blue mold in one greenhouse on the station grounds at the beginning of June (see TFN, June I 2015). All the plants had to be destroyed, and it took some time to replace them.  Ellis says there has been no further incidence of blue mold.

North Carolina--Transplanting lasted a little longer than normal in the mountains of western North Carolina. Ernest Harmon of Elk Park said last week that he hoped to have his planted by July 1. That would not be too late in the high altitude where he farms. "I have set tobacco on July 10 and still made a good crop," he said. A USDA report said that 92 percent of N.C. burley had been set by June 28. The five-year average for that date is 99 percent...Burley was a great crop for farmers in the Carolina mountains for many years, says Bill Harmon of Sugar Grove. Now he has retired, and almost everyone else has gotten out of the crop. "In Watauga County [which used to be a major producer], I know of only one acre being grown," he says. The difficulty of getting contracts was the last straw for many growers, he says.

Virginia--Temperatures above 90 degrees have slowed growth, and new plantings of tobacco have scorched in the heat and been re-set, says Scott Jerrell of Scott County in the southwest corner of the state. The USDA estimated that 93 percent of the Virginia burley crop had been set by June 28, compared to the five-year average of 97 percent.

A WORD FROM THE EDITOR:
I'VE WRITTEN A BOOK AND WOULD LIKE TO TELL YOU ABOUT IT

I recently had the great pleasure--and great challenge--of writing a book about tobacco. Specifically, burley tobacco. And even more specifically, the burley tobacco of what you might call the "Southern Tier" of American burley. Entitled The History of Burley Tobacco in East Tennessee & Western North Carolina, it proved to be a fascinating experience. I learned a lot: Just to give a good example, I had never known that these two states produced a substantial amount of flue-cured in the years just before burley caught on. That production is commemorated to this day by the many old abandoned furnace-and-flue barns that can be found beside country roads, especially in Madison and Buncombe Counties, N.C., and Greene County, Tn. But the most interesting part for me was meeting and interviewing 13 veteran burley growers to find out in an oral history context what had been the most memorable aspects of burley in their lifetime. It's the core of the book and the part I am proudest of. As one of the farmers said, "Our life would have been okay without tobacco, but it wouldn't have had any of the frills. It would have been just the basics." In other words, there would have been a life without burley, it just wouldn't have been much fun. There are several other sections: Sociologist William Jarrett describes how burley growers reacted to the buyout; farm technician Charles Click, recently retired from the staff of the Tennessee AgResearch Center, recounts the momentum that lead to the foundation of that great research station in Greeneville, Tn.; and my co-author and good friend W.W. "Billy" Yeargin Jr. describes the tobacco auction system and how it helped in the development of the tobacco economy. If any of you think you might like to have a copy, call me at 919-789 4631 or contact me via e-mail at chrisbickers@gmail.com. The price is $21.99 plus $2.75 postage, unless you need really fast delivery. To give you a better idea of what it is like, I will publish some excerpts in a coming issue of TFN.--Chris Bickers

DATES TO REMEMBER

  • July 16. South Carolina Tobacco Tour, Pee Dee Research & Education Center, Florence, S.C. Contact: J. Michael Moore at 229-386-3006 or jmmoore@uga.edu.
  • July 20-21. N.C. Tobacco Tour. Begins at 3 p.m.July 20, Edwards Farm, 200 Salem Church Rd., Wendell, N.C., followed by a Welcome Dinner. The tour will begin on the morning of July 21 with a tour of research at the Upper Coastal Plain Research Station near Rocky Mount followed by a tour of research at the Oxford Tobacco Research Station.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
  • August 3-4. Burley Tobacco Industry Tour, Lexington, Ky. On August 3, beginning at 1 p.m., participants will tour research at the Spindletop Research Farm, 3250 Ironworks Pike.  There will be a sponsored dinner. On August 4, participants will tour are farms and see research at the Woodford County Farm, ending with lunch at the Woodford County Farm. Contact: Bob Pearce at 859 221 2465 or rpearce@uky.edu.

  • ADVERTISING






     

    FARMERS TOBACCO WAREHOUSE

    209 Harding St., Danville, Ky.

    Full-service burley warehouse

    Jerry Rankin, Owner


      Call for information.




    TMI



    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.


    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.

    ADVERTISING



    TMI



    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.
    PH: 859-236-4932

    Full-service burley warehouse

    Jerry Rankin, Owner


      Call for information.


     

    Tytun rated 1

    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

    ADVERTISING

    TMI


    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 
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    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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