Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Auction price holds up

A worker cleans off the baling area on a flue-cured farm near Sanford, N.C.
At the Piedmont Warehouse in Danville, Va., 120,000 pounds of flue-cured was sold last Thursday, the last day of auction sales last week, says Jim Eggleston, sales manager. "We averaged $2.15 a pound. That included some cut rag," he says. "The week before, we had a little better tobacco on the floor, and the average was $2.22." Last Thursday, the practical top was $2.28. "Our quality continues good. We could use some rain to fill out the tops. I know some farmers who are irrigating now." Crop progress varies widely, he says. "Some farmers have finished harvesting and some haven't primed at all. That's the Old Belt for you." An early killing frost would be a problem in this area. "If we don't get one, we may be harvesting till November."

Reports from the field...

North Carolina: Most of the flue-cured crop will be harvested or at least ready for harvest by the end of this month. "But limited barn space will likely extend harvest into October, even though most of the tobacco will be mature and ripe," says Loren Fisher, N.C. Extension specialist. How much was produced? One can only guess, but Fisher thinks N.C. volume might fall at around 310 million pounds. "It will definitely be closer to 300 million than 400 million." Whatever the volume, the quality of much of the N.C. crop is exceptional, says Fisher. "Farmers generally are very pleased with the prices they are receiving and just wish they had more to sell," he says...The executive vice president of the Tobacco Growers Association of N.C. is not optimistic about the Tar Heel market. "It will not be a big finish," says Graham Boyd. "Half of the North Carolina crop was out of the field by Labor Day, and some farmers sold for the final time the week after the holiday. We will miss target by 30 percent."

Kentucky: The burley crop is better than was expected two months ago, says Bob Pearce, Kentucky Extension tobacco specialist. "About 60 percent has been harvested which is a little behind normal, mainly because much of it was planted later than normal," he says. There has been one good bit of news, he says. There was not as much abandonment due to heavy rains in early July as we expected. "In mid July, it looked like 10 to 15 percent of the acreage would not be harvested. Now it looks like it was closer to five percent." Entire fields weren't generally abandoned. "It was just patches within fields." The quality should be good, but Pearce says the cured leaf weight may be a disappointment in some cases. "The plants will feel heavy when you harvest them, but so much water will be lost in the cure that the cured leaf weight may not live up to expectations ."

Space high-moisture burley wide on the rail: Stanley Holloway, Yancey County (N.C.) Extension agent, said that considering the growing conditions, farmers in western North Carolina are looking at wider spacing of their sticks on the tier rails. "This will allow more air movement," he said. Be sure all available space is uniformly filled. "Air does not circulate well through tobacco in partially filled barns," Pearce says.  

For the record: USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service issued its September Crop Production estimate on September 12. Its tobacco figures don't seem any more credible than they did in August, but here they are for anyone who would like to review them.    
  • Flue-cured: NC--340 million pounds; VA--52.9 million pounds;GA--29.2 million pounds; SC--17.1 million pounds; US--439.2 million pounds.
  • Burley: KY--156 million pounds; TN--21.8 million pounds; PA--12.7 million pounds; OH--4.5 million pounds; NC--3.5 million pounds; VA--3.0 million pounds; US-- 201.7 million pounds.
  • Fire-cured: KY--36.7 million pounds; TN--23.6 million pounds;VA--800 million pounds; US--61.1 million pounds.
  • Dark air-cured: KY--12 million pounds; TN--2.6 million pounds;US--14.6 million pounds.
  • Cigar: US--Nine million pounds.
  • Southern Maryland: PA(US)--4.7 million pounds.

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Long ad 8-16-13

 1723 Goldsboro St. SW, Wilson, N.C., 
in the old Liberty Warehouse


We will hold both sealed bid auctions 
and live auctions. 

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For more information, contact:
--Mann Mullen at 919-496-9033 
--Greg Ray at  252-799-6061  or
--the warehouse at 252-206-1447


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