Dark tobacco outlook still bright. The good performance of moist snuff products relative to cigarettes has lead to a continued strong market for the dark tobacco types. Todd Harton of Cadiz, Ky., had the largest acreage of fire-cured tobacco in the country last year at 260 acres, and he is increasing again this year to 300 acres or more. "All my tobacco goes for snuff, and the snuff industry is strong right now," he says. Two new practices have helped a lot in recent years, he says. "I began strip tillage eight years ago," he says. "I didn't want the soil to wash. Now, ground preparation is quicker, tobacco stays clean and I can get back in quicker after a rain." Harton started using SoySoap midway through the season in 2009. It has given a yield increase of 250 to 300 pounds, but the main benefit is increased quality, he says. "We can get the finish we want, and with one less firing."
How to test your flue-cured barns: The Tobacco Growers Association of N.C. (TGANC) is providing barn testing certification services for flue-cured barns to growers in all flue-cured states. The fee per barn is $48, and all growers in all states may utilize the service. If interested, contact TriTest Inc. at 919-834-4984 in Raleigh. Say you are interested in the Tobacco Barn Testing Service. "Barn certification for nitrosamine issues has become a critical part of contracting agreements," said Graham Boyd, TGANC executive vice president, in a statement. "Some companies are now shifting the burden of proof to the tobacco grower." For more information, contact Boyd at 919-614-0099.