Thursday, March 26, 2015

THE PLANTING SEASON BEGINS IN FLORIDA AND GEORGIA


A farmer in north Florida sets out flue-cured plants in this file shot from the Georgia Tobacco Hotline.

REPORTS FROM THE FIELD 

Georgia and Florida: Plantings began this week in Florida and Georgia. Acreage of tobacco in the Deep South (all flue-cured) will probably be down about 25 percent, says J. Michael Moore, Extension tobacco specialist in Georgia and Florida. That would be 12,000 acres in Georgia (down from 15,000) and 1,200 acres in Florida (down from 1,500). 

South Carolina: In the Pee Dee area, planting will begin very soon, says Justin Ballew, Dillon County, S.C., agriculture agent. Seeding got going in earnest at the beginning of February. "Most of our growers have clipped several times," he says. The only greenhouse problem has been an instance of chlorine damage in Horry County, he says. 

North Carolina: Field preparation and fumigation for flue-cured are running behind, says N.C. Extension tobacco specialist Loren Fisher, but there should be enough time if the weather cooperates. Plant development in the greenhouse may be a little behind also, but it looks like the plants should be ready by the time the fields are ready.

In other news...

What do you do with burley that hasn't been stripped yet? "Leave it on the stick," says grower Roger Quarles of Georgetown, Ky. "Let it go through a few sweats in June and then strip it in August. That seems the best way to handle it."

The burley storage plan meets some success. The U.S. Growers Tobacco Company (USGTC), accepted 169,000 pounds of burley in its program to take delivery, process and store burley tobacco from the 2014 crop (see "A strategy for marketing what's left of the 2014 crop,"TFN March I). Deliveries ended last week. "We could have taken in a lot more, but the word got out late," says Quarles, USGTC president. "What we took in is excellent quality and will make for a very salable strip." Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association, the burley cooperative in Lexington, Ky., will market the burley, but the growers will maintain ownership.

The worst black shank damage in recent memory struck Georgia last year, but Moore thinks it will be much less in 2015. "Some of the new varieties like GL 395, CC 143 and NC 925 offer very good resistance to Race 1," he says. "Also, we have a new chemical in Presidio." With fewer acres planted, farmers will be better able to avoid black shank hot spots.

What will it take to create a recovery in the tobacco economy? Smaller crops and reduction in inventories would help, said Blake Brown, N.C. Extension economist, at the recent meeting of Tobacco Associates.  More favorable exchange rates would be another boon, and growth in the China market could offset continued declines in U.S. and EU markets. But what could de-rail a 2016 recovery? "Bumper 2015 crops, a continued weak global economy and weak and lower-value currencies in our customer countries relative to the U.S. dollar," said Brown.

UPCOMING GAP RECERTIFICATION MEETINGS
  
KENTUCKY (Burley)

  • March 31, 6:30 p.m. Barren County Extension Office, 555 Trojan Trail, Glasgow, Ky. Contact 270-651-3818 or chris.schalk@uky.edu. 
  • April 6, 6:30 p.m. LYNC (Distance Training) This is a live webinar. Please contact your local County Extension Office to attend.



MISSOURI (Burley)

  • April 7, 6:30 p.m. Weston Café, 407 Main St., Weston. Platte County. Contact 816-776-6961 or millerww@missouri.edu.

OHIO (Burley)

  • April 13, 7 p.m. OSU Extension Office, 111 Jackson Pike, Gallipolis, Oh. Gallia County. Contact 740-446-7007.
  • April 14, 7 p.m. Eastern Brown High School Cafeteria, 11557 U.S. Hwy. 62, Winchester. Brown County. Contact 937-544-2339 or rowe.316@osu.edu. 

VIRGINIA (Flue)
  • April 1, 10 a.m., Southern Piedmont Center, 2375 Darvills Rd., Blackstone, Va. Nottoway (Flue). Contact 434-292-5331 or threed@exchange.vt.edu.
  • April 9, 10 a.m. Ronnie Waller Farm. 3083 Golden Leaf Rd., Nathalie, Va. Contact 434-432-7770. Barn testing certification.
    April 9, 2 p.m. Thompson Farms, 400 Marvin Collie Dr., Ringgold, Va. Contact 434-432-7770. Barn testing certification.
Quality does not cost, it pays

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