Thursday, August 11, 2011

USDA says flue-cured production will be up, burley down

Flue-cured production should be about 3% more than last year, while burley production will likely fall 5%, according to the August Crop Report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture which was issued this morning (August 11). According to the report, the big winner in volume in 2011 will be Pennsylvania, whose burley is up 11% and whose Southern Maryland volume is up 30%. Tennessee will also be way up in burley. The big loser will be South Carolina, down a whopping 31%. This is based on an estimated yield of 1,700 pounds per acre. But Dewitt Gooden, S.C. Extension tobacco specialist, tells Tobacco Farmer Newsletter that he finds the USDA figures mystifying. "It has been a bad season, hot and dry, and our yield is off some, but in some of the worst years I can remember we produced at least 1,900 pounds," he says. "There were a few fields so dry early that the growers disked them up. But in most areas, we have had some rain in time. I don't see how our crop could be as bad as USDA is projecting." Following is USDA's analysis of 2011 tobacco production as a whole and by type, with percentage change from last year:
          --All tobacco production for 2011 is forecast at 726 million pounds, up 1% from 2010. 
        --Flue-cured:NC--369.8 million pounds, up 6%. VA--44.4 million pounds, up 11.2%. GA--26.4 million pounds, down slightly. SC--24.6 million pounds, down 31.5%. US--465.3 million pounds, up 2.9%. "Moderate drought conditions were reported in some of the top flue-cured-producing counties," says USDA. "But some spotty storms provided relief during the past few weeks."
            --Burley: KY--126 million pounds, down 10% [not up 10%, as originally reported]. TN--30.4 million pounds, up 22%. PA--11.2 million pounds, up 11.6%. OH--3.8 million pounds, down 25.8%. VA--3.4 million pounds, up 11.8%. NC--3.3 million pounds, down 16.5%. US--178 million pounds, down 5% from last year." Kentucky growers reported that wet spring weather delayed setting in most areas," the report said. "Also, dry weather and extreme heat in late July slowed plant growth. Tennessee growers are expecting an average crop, recovering from adverse conditions last year." 
            --Southern Maryland6.4 million pounds (all in PA), up 30.3%. 
         --Dark air-curedKY-12.1 million pounds, down 1.1%, and TN-3.2 million pounds, up 13.2%. US--15.4 million pounds, up 1.8%. Kentucky growers reported black shank was becoming a problem in local areas, the report said. However, disease pressure was mostly light.
                --Fire-cured: KY--30.6 million pounds, up 5%. TN-20.6 million pounds, up 14.8%. VA-990,000 pounds, down 27.1%. US:  52.3 million pounds, up 8.1%. "Most Tennessee growers expect an average crop following recent beneficial rains," the report says. 
          --Cigar types: US--15.4 million pounds, down 21.2%. "In Connecticut and Massachusetts, mostly damp conditions were reported by growers in the spring," says USDA. "As the summer progressed, conditions became more arid." 
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