Burley in Tennessee and southern Kentucky has potential for a better-than-average crop, maybe the best in the last three years, says Paul Denton, Kentucky-Tennessee Extension tobacco specialist. "Topping is 10% to 15% complete among burley growers," says Denton. "The dark growers are a little farther along, maybe 25%. But some of both types is ankle high"..."We have at least as many planted acres as last year and it appears we could have a higher yield than last year. So I think we could have a bigger crop"...There appears to be one success story in the burley states this year: Some areas had a wet spring followed by a dry summer. Those are the conditions that usually set the stage for black shank. But Denton says there has been very little this year. That's due to the increased plantings of the black-shank-resistant burley varieties KT-209 and KT-206 that also features black shank resistance, he says. "Probably half of Tennessee burley growers planted one or both of those varieties."
Dark tobacco in western Kentucky and Tennessee has been "as up and down as I have ever seen it," says Andy Bailey, Extension dark tobacco specialist in those states. "But it is starting to level out." Irrigation was just starting, and some problems with compaction were reported. "A lot of dark tobacco here is strip tilled, and in strip tillage, you have a lot of roots growing straight down but not many growing laterally," he says. "You can get sidewall compaction, and that lead in some cases to lodging when we had heavy winds on July 24." But average or better yields seem achievable, he says, and since a few excess acres were set late in the planting season, a normal crop seems well within reach.