Wednesday, June 4, 2014


A flue-cured grower near Four Oaks, N.C., raises dust as he cultivates his tobacco on June 2.

In North Carolina, transplanting is nearly complete, says Loren Fisher, N.C. Extension tobacco specialist. "A few farms are still transplanting in the Piedmont. I expect they will finish this week. Layby is just beginning 
Inspecting for thrips: Loren Fisher (left), N.C. Extension tobacco specialist, checks young flue-cured tobacco for thrips at the N.C. Central Crops Research Station in Clayton, N.C., at a field day on June 2. Looking on are TGANC executive Graham Boyd (standing), and farmer Bennie Lee, Sanford, N.C.
in the East." The supply of plants was tight but most intended acres were planted, he says. But there may be more late-set plants out there this year than the state has ever had, says Graham Boyd, executive vice president of the Tobacco Growers Association of N.C. "There were significant plantings with plants from re-seeded greenhouses." Fisher says that based on research, there is not much reason to expect a yield reduction on plants set before May 24. But a hot June could cause problems... 
In Virginia, the flue-cured crop has gotten off to a good start, says David Reed, Virginia Extension tobacco specialist. A few growers are still transplanting while some of the earliest will be laid by this week. Transplanting is probably 98 percent complete. Plant supply was tight but most growers managed to find available transplants, says Reed. "Very few acres will be left unplanted"... In South Carolina, Georgetown County Extension agent Kyle Daniel said in a June 2 report that "tobacco is really starting to look better and better as warmer weather and good moisture is allowing the crop to grow at a steady pace"... In Georgia, black shank is a problem. One farmer reported 80 percent black shank in an 11-acre field that had only been in tobacco one year (2013) out of the last 100. "We don't know how the inoculum got in there," says Moore. "In recent years, it had been in pastures and pecan trees." Fortunately, it is not that intense for most of the state, but black shank is above normal, he says. "The reason is probably that we had a lot of weather events after planting that involved excessive rain, then drying." Roots and stems were injured, allowing the black shank pathogen to enter the plant. Some plants collapsed without ever yellowing. 

In Kentucky, Kenny Seebold, until recently Extension plant pathologist, suggests that where black shank has been a problem in the past, consider making a pre-plant application of Ridomil Gold at a half pint per acre if applied in setter water, or one pint per acre if applied as a broadcast spray to soil. This would equal a half quart per acre of Ultra Flourish or four to six quarts of MetaStar. If the disease pressure is light to moderate, you can delay the first application one to two weeks. For extended control of black shank, make a supplemental fungicide application (one pint of Ridomil Gold or one quart of Ultra Flourish, or two quarts of MetaStar) at lay by, or at first cultivation and again at lay by Best results are generally obtained when resistant varieties are planted. In middle Tennessee, Extension agent Jason Evitts in Trousdale County said in a June 2 report, "It has been a great couple of weeks, and tobacco transplanting has caught up from a late start. But tobacco already transplanted could use some rain"... In southwest Virginia, there will be a shortage of burley plants because fewer farmers are growing plants. "Most of the growers who sell plants have sold out already," says Danny Peek, Virginia District Extension director in Abingdon, Va. "If anything goes wrong that requires replanting, our supply could turn out way short."

OUTSIDE THE U.S... Transplanting in Canada got going in earnest last week, which is a little late, a source in Ontario tells TFN. "We are about a week behind schedule," he said. "The weather has been cold and cloudy, and we have had more than our fair share of precipitation. Transplant quality and supply seem to be quite good." He doesn't see any of the problems with plants that so many American farmers are experiencing. "Over 95 percent of the greenhouses here have furnaces, so our plants are nice--but expensive," he says. He expected setting to be going at full speed by now. Almost all Canada tobacco is flue-cured grown in southern Ontario.

In other tobacco developments: 

Unusually large numbers of thrips are appearing on flue-cured tobacco in North Carolina. Counts between 30 and 50 thrips per leaf are common, and some classic "silver-leafing" foliar damage, which is caused by thrips' rasping the upper leaf surface, has been seen. Hannah Burrack, N.C. Extension entomologist, says, "The current thrips are likely the third generation, and if so they arrived about as predicted. The fourth generation flight (in Wilson County) is expected to begin around June 10, so we may observe additional thrips populations there soon." Also, some of the winter annual weeds that are overwinter hosts to thrips seem to be dying off at fast pace now, forcing thrips to find a new host. Nevertheless, Burrack does not recommend spraying of thrips at this time. "The foliar feeding damage by thrips now is likely negligible," she says. "It is occurring early in the season on leaves that will be on the lower part of the plant and subject to much more abuse before harvest." Foliar treatments are generally not very effective against thrips because they are not persistent and are difficult to time, she adds. Read the N.C. State recommendations at TSWV Risk and Thrips Forecasting Tool. 
A tobacco landmark changes hands: The historic Reynolds Building has been sold by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company to a 
Reynolds Bldg.
The Reynolds Building
company that will convert it into a hotel, restaurant and upscale apartments. Located in downtown Winston-Salem, N.C., the 22-story building was completed in 1929, and with its strong resemblance to the Empire State Building (built by the same architectural team), it has been an imposing fixture on the city's skyline ever since. A statement from RJRT said the new owners are expected to honor its place in the community as they transform it to its new use. The parent company, Reynolds American, decided that the building was expendable in 2008.
Dates to remember: 
  • June 9, 7 p.m. Georgia-Florida Tobacco Tour, begins with a supper in Live Oak, Fl., and end near Baxley, Ga., after lunch on June 11. Contact: J. Michael Moore at 229-392-6424.
  • June 26, 8 a.m. Tobacco Field Day. UT Highland Rim AgResearch and Education Center Springfield, Contact: Barry Sims 615 382 3130 or
  • July 14-15. N.C. Tobacco Tour. Details to follow. 
  • July 30, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Virginia Tobacco Field Day. Southern Piedmont AREC, Blackstone, Va. Contact: Margaret Kenny, 434 292 5331 or
  • July 31, 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Grains and Tobacco Field Day. UK REC, Princeton, Ky. Contact: 270-365-7541 ext 264.
  • August 7, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tobacco Twilight Tour, Murray State University West Farm, Murray, Ky. Contact: Andy Bailey, tobacco specialist, at 270-365-7541 ext. 240.
Edited by Chris Bickers, Raleigh, N.C., Phone 919 789 4631 or email

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