Black shank on flue-cured plants in a research plot at the Upper Coastal Plain Research Station near Rocky Mount, N.C.
The arsenal for battling black shank has gotten larger since 2014. J. Michael Moore, Georgia Extension tobacco specialist, says a combination of one application of Ridomil Gold SL, one of Presidio and one of the Orondis Gold 200 could improve black shank control for many growers this year. Orondis, a new fungicide from Syngenta, employs a new mode of action that is different from the standard treatment Ridomil and from Presidio, which has been labeled for tobacco just one year. "Use of multiple fungicides with differing modes of action should help preventdevelopmentof resistance to any one fungicide," says Moore. "We will definitely have more tools than we had a few years ago." He says the key to good results with Orondis--which is sold in a co-pack with Ridomil Gold SL--will be to get it in early and incorporate it in the root zone.
But what is still the best defense against black shank? Rotation, and the longest you can achieve, says Moore. There have been problems recently with black shank appearing in rotated fields, but he thinks that might be due to other factors, especially moving soil from infected fields to uninfected ones and irrigating with water from infected ponds. Sadly, the lack of a variety highly resistant to Race 1 continues to be a problem. The three varieties that appear to give the best resistance to black shank among flue-cured varieties tested on-farm in Georgia are NC 925, CC 143 and GL 395, Moore says. "But sometimes you pay a price in yield and/or quality for the improved resistance."
At-planting application is out for Presidio:The manufacturer Valent has withdrawn labeling of the fungicide Presidio foruse in transplant water. "Therewere some unanticipated plant responses in a few areas in 2015 and until we get a handle on what happened, we think it is better to be safe than sorry," says Kenneth Seebold, product development manager for Valent. The transplant water use will remain off the Presidio label for the foreseeable future, he adds. By the way, the injury issues occurred entirely on flue-cured tobacco. Presidio will still be labeled as a soil directed sprayat first cultivationor layby. No more than two soil applications can be made.
The quality of the burley crop appears to be living up to hopes so far. "We are about half way through marketing in terms of volume," says Bob Pearce, Kentucky Extension tobacco specialist. "The quality is variable but overall it is better than what was expected a few months ago." So far, most farmers seem satisfied with the price they are receiving.
Zimbabwean production appears down: The number of farmers who registered to grow tobacco dropped from over 86,000 last year to slightly above 69,000 through November, according to the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB). Growers complained about the low price of the 2014/2015crop. Now, harvest has begun on the irrigated portion of the 2015/2016 crop. Most of the irrigated crop is in good condition but in some areas, there were problems of constant power cuts, said the minister of agriculture. "The dry land crop was affected by poor rains that started very late, and we do not expect high volumes of tobacco this season," said Davis Marapira ... Climate change could affect the current crop, said TIMB chief executive Andrew Matibiri. "According to the Meteorological Department, we will experience a shorter season," he said. But he was not sure if yield would be affected. "This is more or less the environment we experienced last season, and we are adjusting and adapting through investing in irrigation infrastructure."
Which way contracting? My assessment of the demand-supply situation is that a modest increase in flue-cured purchases for 2016 and a larger one for burley would make a certain amount of sense. But when did the tobacco business ever make sense? I have heard from a reliable source that one of the domestics is substantially cutting its pounds to growers, in some cases down to zero. I sincerely hope that this does not reflect significantly lower need on the company's part and instead represents its desire to shift purchasing to dealers. I will try to confirm this and have more details by my next issue, in about two weeks.
Growers to meet: The annual meeting of Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association will take place on January 15 at 3 p.m. at the Owensboro Convention Center during the Kentucky Cattlemen's Association trade show. The annual meeting of the Council for Burley Tobacco will take place at 12 p.m. the next day, also at the show.
Editor: Chris Bickers | Bickers Editing Service | 903-9 Shellbrook Ct. | RaleighNC27609 |919-789-4631
UPCOMING GAP RECERTIFICATION MEETINGS
January 16, 9 AM. Owensboro Convention Center, 501 W 2nd St., Owensboro, Ky., in conjunction with the Tobacco Expo. Contact Bob Pearce at rpearce @uky.edu/859-257-5110.