Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Yield trends for burley have been disappointing since deregulation, says Kentucky Extension tobacco economist Will Snell, who spoke at the recent meeting of the Burley Stabilization Cooperative [BSC] in Springfield, Tn. The loss of marginal land hasn’t lead to increased yields as had been hoped, and farmers who want to stay in burley over the long term will have to find some way to get yields up, says Snell. “There is no profit in growing burley tobacco if your yield is below 2,000 pounds per acre.” In other statistics relating to this season’s crop, Snell says: ●Yield is projected at 1,890 pounds per acre.●Acreage is down about eight percent. ●Production should be about 170 million pounds more or less, which would be roughly nine percent less than 2010.

Burley crop report: In east Tennessee, the burley crop looked quite good as harvest drew to a close in September, says Paul Denton, Kentucky-Tennessee Extension specialist, who also spoke at the BSC meeting. “The tobacco I saw September 27 did not look promising when I saw it back in mid-August. But as it was being harvested, it looked like it might yield 2,400 pounds per acre.” At the nearby Limestone community of Washington County, Denton found much tobacco still in the field. “I would say they were a little behind on harvest, with maybe 40 % still in the field. But they were working hard at cutting and housing on September 27.” The crop there really benefited from late rains and looked a lot better than it had a month before. “Farmers were beginning to worry about frost and cool curing temperatures for the later crop after the cooler temperatures of the weekend of October 1-2, Denton says… It paid to plant early in 2011, says Mike Bobo of Lebanon, Tn. “In 2012, I will try to plant by May 1. We had some we planted on July 2 that is no good now.” It was a tough year regardless when one planted, he says. “Once it dried up, it stayed dry. We will definitely have a below-average crop.” Bobo thinks he saved a little on expenses by planting a black-shank-resistant variety for the first time. “In the past, I have kept black shank in control with Ridomil and Quaddris,” he says. “But KT 209 worked very well this season”… In southwestern Virginia, burley planted in areas of heavier clay were visible to the eye because of the drought, said Kenneth Reynolds of Abingdon, Va. “Where tobacco was on clay soil, the dry weather lead to a shorter crop.” 

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