Monday, February 2, 2015


Box loading
Inventories growing--A worker loads boxes of burley leaf
at a warehouse of the Burley Stabilization Corporation in
Springfield, Tn.

This crop seems to just keep getting smaller. I have no solid numbers, but my sources tell me that a reduction of 25 percent in pounds from 2014 could well be in the offing for flue-cured, at least among those companies who contracted last year. Burley contracting, which is not as far along, is said to be a little stronger, but a big cut may be on the way there as well.

The main reason for this lack of company interest in the 2015 is the unexpectedly high production in 2014, especially for flue-cured. In January, USDA raised its already high total volume estimate for the 2014 flue-cured crop, pegging it at 573 million pounds, up seven percent from its previous forecast and 26 percent higher than last year. Harvested flue-cured acres totaled 245,300 acres in 2014, said USDA, up six percent from the previous forecast and seven percent above a year ago. Yields averaged 2,335 pounds per acre, 17 pounds above the last forecast and 349 pounds more than in 2013.

Burley production totaled 213 million pounds, according to USDA. That was one percent more than the forecast and 11 percent above last year. Growers were believed to have harvested 101,500 acres, up three percent from the previous forecast and three percent above 2013. Yields averaged 2,100 pounds per acre, 52 pounds below the previous forecast but 156 pounds above a year ago. Note: There is considerable disagreement with the production estimate for this type, with credible suggestions made that around 200 million pounds would be closer to the mark.

Among our competitors, meanwhile, the outlook is mixed. Brazil has a big crop too, and it is being marketed now. Zimbabwe, on the other hand, has what was expected to be a slightly bigger crop than in 2014 (which itself had been much bigger than the crop in 2013). But heavy rains have so reduced the production potential that the 485 million pound target may not be achieved. Marketing in Zimbabwe will begin soon. Production loss from the weather there could still conceivably affect our contracts.

The rain in Malawi has been even heavier. Some plantings have been washed away entirely, and the rest are showing the effects of too much precipitation. "Leaching of nitrogenous fertilizer is an issue, and curing the leaf in this weather is problematic," said the Malawi Tobacco Commission. Most of Malawi's tobacco is burley, and it produces flavor leaf. So a major shortfall there could improve the market for American burley.

Reports from the fields: Greenhouse seeding is virtually complete in Florida and Georgia, and some plants are up and growing, says J. Michael Moore, Georgia Extension tobacco specialist...There have been very few reports of greenhouse seeding in North Carolina, says Loren Fisher, N.C. Extension tobacco specialist. He expects seeding to get going in about 10 days...Seeding of dark tobacco greenhouses in Kentucky and Tennessee might begin in late February, but the bulk will take place from March 15, says Andy Bailey, dark tobacco specialist. He thinks plantings for 2015 could be down, but only by a few percentage points. The market appears relatively stable.

Organic to the rescue? There is a little good news from the organic tobacco front. Farmers have told me that Santa Fe has increased its contract volumes, although I haven't confirmed that yet. Also, a new company based in Switzerland has reportedly contracted for a substantial amount of organic American flue-cured and burley for 2015, which would be good news indeed. However, I can't tell you much else now--it has been very difficult to get information from this company. Hopefully, I can provide more details in future issues.
Presidio now labeled. Valent has obtained a tobacco label for Presidio for control of black shank, and you can use it this season. Extension specialists strongly recommend that it be used in rotation or combination with an alternate chemical, like Ridomil Gold or Ultra Flourish. Presidio can also be used to control blue mold.

An Expo in Tennessee: The Tennessee-Kentucky Tobacco Expo will be held on Tuesday, February 3, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Robertson County Fairgrounds, 4635 Highway 41 North, Springfield, Tn. There will be a trade show and GAP recertification at 8 a.m. and 1:30 (and additional sessions may be held as needed). Also, Andy Bailey, K-T Extension tobacco specialist, will speak on dark and burley varieties and Eric Walker, K-T Extension tobacco specialist, will speak on managing tobacco diseases.

Welcome to the February I issue of Tobacco Farmer Newsletter. If you haven't signed on to receive it regularly or need to change an address, you can call me at 919-789-4631 or email me at Thanks--Chris Bickers


A really big show in North Carolina: The Southern Farm Show will take place beginning 8 a.m., February 4, at the N.C. State Fair Grounds in Raleigh and end February 6 with the annual meeting of the N.C. Tobacco Growers Assn. A list of exhibits of special interest to tobacco farmers follows.  

Jim Graham Bldg.  
  • 221 (also 8204) Taylor Mfg. Curing barns and wood furnaces.
  • 222 Evans Mactavish Agricraft and World Tobacco. Bulk fertilizer handling equipment. Curing barns. 
  • 227 Kelley Mfg. Co. Agricultural equipment.
  • 704 (also 8131) Agri Supply. Agricultural materials.
  • 807 Mechanical Transplanter Co. Transplanters, seeding equipment.
  • 808-9 BulkTobac (Gas Fired Products). Curing equipment and controls, poultry brooders, pig heating, space heaters.
Kerr Scott Bldg. 
  • 1002 TriEst Ag Group (Formerly Hendrix and Dail). Fumigation supplies.
  • 1005 Flue Cured Tobacco Services. Curing controls.
  • 1015 Yara North America. Fertility products.
  • 1104 GoldLeaf Seed Co. Tobacco seed.
  • 1114 Transplant Systems. Greenhouse systems.  
  • 1116 Cross Creek Seed. Tobacco seed.
  • 1121 AAA Scale Co.
  • 1201 Carolina Greenhouse & Soil Company.
  • 1202 Reddick Equipment Company Inc.
  • 1302 Mid-Atlantic Irrigation.
Exposition Bldg.
  • 3127 (also 8611) Benchmark Buildings & Irrigation Inc. Pre-fabricated metal buildings, transplanters and irrigation equipment.
  • 3135 Southern Container Corporation of Wilson. Bale sheets and packaging.  
  • 3522 First Products Inc. Fertilizer boxes for cultivators and tool bars.
  • 3605 MarCo Mfg. Tobacco machinery.
  • 3714 Cureco, Inc. Curing controls.
Tent 1
  • 5007 ABI Irrigation. Irrigation equipment.
  • 5023 Walters Air Assist Plant Release System. Plant release system.
  • 5110 Britt Technical Services, Inc. Rotem Curing Controls.
Scott Tent
  • 7025 Drexel Chemical Company. Sucker control chemicals.
  • 7323 Berger. Plant growing mixtures.
  • 7327 Teeterville Garage & Weighing Systems. Moisture controllers for tobacco barns and weighing scales.
  • 8003 Equipmax. Tobacco spray equipment.
  • 8122 Carolina Tobacco Services. Curing barns, mechanical harvesters, heat exchangers.  
  • 8204 Wilson Manufacturing. Farm trailers. Also in the exhibit will be a Taylor Tobacco Barn.
  • 8217 Granville Equipment. Tobacco machinery.
  • 8301 World Tobacco. Tobacco machinery.
  • 8313 De Cloet SRL. Tobacco machinery. 
  • 8701 Tytun Ltd. Bulk flue-curing barns.
  • 8712 Long Tobacco Barn Co. Bulk tobacco curing barns. 
  • 8715 Evencure Systems. Curing controls.

Visit us at the Southern Farm Show, Exhibit # 808-809 Graham Bldg.

Visit our booth at the Southern Farm Show Exhibit # 1104.

Visit us at the Southern Farm Show Exhibit # 3714.

See our products at the Benchmark outdoor booth at the Southern Farm Show, Exhibit 3127.

 Visit our booth at the Southern Farm Show, Exhibit # 8204.

 209 Harding St., Danville, Ky.

Full-service burley warehouse

Jerry Rankin, Owner

 Opening Tuesday, November 25 at 9:30 a.m. Call for information.

Visit our booth at the Southern Farm Show, Exhibit # 8301.

Visit our booth at the Southern Farm Show, Exhibit # 8701.


  • February 3, 6 p.m. Lincoln County Extension Office, 104 Metker Trail, Stanford, Ky. Lincoln County. Contact (606) 365-2459 or
  • February 5, 9:30 a.m. Graves County Extension Office, 251 Housman St., Mayfield, Ky. Graves County. Contact or 270-753-1452.
  • February 12, 6 p.m. Montgomery County Extension Office, 106 East Locust St., Mt Sterling, Ky. Montgomery County. Contact (859)-498-8741 or
  • February 19, 12 p.m. Green County Extension Office, 298 Happyville Rd., Greensburg, Ky. Green County. Contact (270)-932-5311 or
  • February 19, 5 p.m. RECC Building, 2405 North Main St., Jamestown, Ky. Russell County. Contact or chelsey.pickens@
  • February 23, 4:30 p.m. Muhlenberg County  Extension Office, 3690 State Route 1380, Central City, Ky. Muhlenberg County. Contact 270-338-3124 or
  • February 24, 6 p.m. Trigg County Recreation Complex, 303 Complex Rd., Cadiz, Ky. Trigg County. Contact 270-365-2787 or smbogl2@
  • February 24, 6 p.m. Maysville Community College, 1755 U.S. 68, Maysville, Ky. Maysville County. Contact (606) 564-6808 or
  • February 25, 10 a.m. Breckinridge County Extension Office, 1377 Hwy 261 So., Hardinsburg, Ky. Breckinridge County. Contact (270) 756-2182 or
  • February 25, 1 p.m. Daviess County Extension Office, 4800A New Hartford Rd., Owensboro, Ky. Daviess County. Contact 270-685-8480 or
  • February 26, 6:30 p.m. Pendleton County Extension Office, 45 David Pribble Dr., Falmouth, Ky. Pendleton County. Contact (859) 654-3395 or
  • March 10, 6 p.m. Allen County Extension Office, 200 East Main St., Scottsville, Ky. Allen County. Contact (270) 237-3146 or
  • March 10, 6 p.m. Warren County Extension Office, 3132 Nashville Rd., Bowling Green, Ky. Warren County. Contact (270) 842-1681 or
  • March 12, 6:30 p.m. Wolfe County Extension Office, No. Washington St., Campton, Ky. Wolfe County. Contact (606) 668-3712 or
  • March 13, 9 a.m. University of Kentucky Research and Education Center, 1205 Hopkinsville St., Princeton, Ky. Caldwell County. Contact 270-365-7541 or
  • March 19, 6:30 p.m. Owen County Extension Office, 265 Ellis Hwy., Owenton, Ky. Owen County. Contact (502) 484-5703 or 

Dark (Tennessee and Kentucky)

  • February 10, 5 p.m. Stewart Co. Farm Bureau Bldg., 313 Spring St., Dover, Tn. Stewart County. Contact 931-648-5725 or The GAP session will be followed by a dinner meeting with updates on burley and dark.
  • February 24, 2 p.m. McLean County Extension Office, 335 West 7th St., Calhoun, Ky. Contact 270-273-3690 or
  • February 26, 2 p.m. Logan County Extension Office, 255 John Paul Rd., Russellville, Ky. Contact 270-726-6323 or

  • February 3(Two sessions) 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Additional GAP sessions may be held. Robertson Co. Fairgrounds Bldg., Hwy 41, Springfield, Tn. Robertson County. Contact 615-384-7936 or      
  • February 9, 10 a.m. Holston Electric Auditorium, 1200 West Main St., Rogersville, Tn. Hawkins County. Contact 423 272 7241 or
  • February 12, 10 a.m. Smith County Ag Center, 159 Ag Center Ln., Carthage, Tn. Smith County. Contact 615-418-6472 or
  • February 12, 6 p.m. Ag Pavillion, 262 W. McMurray Blvd., Hartsville, Tn. Trousdale County. Contact 615-374-2421 or
  • March 3, 6 p.m. Pickett County Agricultural Learning Center, 155 Skyline Dr., Byrdstown, Tn. Pickett County. Contact 931-954-3310 or

INDIANA (All burley)
OHIO (All burley)
  • February 6, 1 p.m. Tobacco Growers Association of N.C. Annual Meeting, N.C. State Fairgrounds, Raleigh, N.C. Contact 919-513-0904 or
GEORGIA (Flue-cured)

  • February 16, 12:45 p.m. Tifton Campus Conference Center, Small Auditorium, RDC Rd., Tifton, Ga. Tift County. Contact 229 392 6424 or
  • March 5, 1 p.m. Nashville Community Center, 102 N. Jefferson St., Nashville, Ga. Berrien County. Contact 229 392 6424


  • February 17, 12:45 p.m. Woodhaven (behind Jimmy B's Restaurant, across from Auto Zone), 1963 Highway 76, Marion, S.C. Marion County. Contact 229 392 6424 or 
 VIRGINIA (Flue-cured) 
  • February 12, 10 a.m. Midway Baptist Church, 2595 Midway Road, Phenix, Va. Charlotte County. Contact 434-292-5331 or


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