Saturday, August 27, 2011

When will U.S. Grower Direct purchase tobacco?


An employee at the company's office in North Carolina said earlier this week that opening is scheduled for "early" in the week of August 29. No other information was provided. A source in Georgia confirmed for me Friday morning that no tobacco has been purchased at the USGD facility in DouglasGa., and said he'd learned that there have been difficulties with cash transfers from the international banking system.  "I am told the money is available, but the software is not making the transfer," he said. "Dell technicians are to be on-site in Douglas tomorrow to fix the problem." He said he understood that the Douglas facility will be the first USGD station to buy tobacco.
A charitable assessment: Graham Boyd, executive vice president of Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina, gave USGD the benefit of the doubt in a report on August 18. "USGD is giving us every indication that it is serious about the procurement obligation for this crop," he wrote. "I can report that the new [USGD] station in Louisburg is ready and fully operational with the exception of the computer situation. The Malcam devices were delivered weeks ago at each of the stations and buyers are in position. A tremendous amount of investment and human resources has been invested up to this point for it not to become a reality."
In Georgia, Extension Specialist J. Michael Moore says some growers are stripping their crop because of the excessive rains in July and earlyAugust. "But in areas where little rain has occurred, many are still working on the second harvest," he says. "Although we have some tobacco affected by the weather extremes, we are still going to have an extremely good crop compared to recent years."
In North Carolina, Boyd said the crop was probably never greater than a 500-million-pound potential at planting time, based on an above-average statewide yield of more than 2,400 pounds to the acre. It is a fair estimate today that the current crop has missed its opportunity to exceed a per-acre average of 2,400 pounds. Many growers say it takes 50% more acres of first pullings to fill a barn this year compared to last, he said. "This crop will most certainly be late in terms of harvest completion.  The longer the crop must hang in the field the more vulnerable it becomes to additional poundage or quality loss. "The crop has missed its optimum schedule to achieve its maximum potential in terms of size and weight."  It can still be a good quality crop, just not one that exceeds 500 million pounds of number one and two quality grades, Boyd said. "We should expect a tight supply."

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