Wednesday, August 17, 2016


In N.C., USDA estimated flue-cured production down four percent, in part because of situations like this. This field of flue-cured at the research station in Oxford, N.C., was planted very late thanks to a rainy spring. The last of it went in the first week of June, at least two weeks late. Then came more some connected with strong winds that blew over stalks. About half the stalks in this field had been blown down and had to be stood back up.

USDA released its August projection of tobacco production August 12. At this point, South Carolina appears to be enjoying the best conditions and is expected to produce 28 percent more than a year ago. North Carolina flue-cured is projected to down four percent. All the other flue-cured states are expected to be up a small amount. All but two of the burley states in the survey are projected to be up a bit. North Carolina is projected down 17 percent. Following: Production projections plus estimated change by state from 2015.
FLUE-CURED: North Carolina--363 million pounds, down four per cent. Virginia--50.4 million pounds, up two percent. South Carolina--33.35 million pounds, up 28 percent. Georgia--29.7 million pounds, down eight percent. All U.S.-- 476.4 million pounds, down two per cent. BURLEY: Kentucky--114 million pounds, up nine percent. Tennessee--21 million pounds, up two percent. Pennsylvania--11 million pounds, up two percent. North Carolina--1.5 million pounds, down 17 percent. Virginia--2.3 million pounds, down two percent. All U.S.--149.9 million pounds, up 3.6 percent. SO. MARYLAND: Pennsylvania-- 3.8 million pounds, up nine per cent. FIRE-CURED: Kentucky--25.6 million pounds, down 19 per cent. Tennessee--22.2 million pounds down seven percent. Virginia--550 thousand pounds, down four percent. All U.S.--48.4 million pounds, down eight percent. DARK AIR-CURED: Kentucky--11.2 million pounds, down 18 per cent. Tennessee--3.2 million pounds, down one percent. All U.S. 14.5 million pounds, down 15 percent. CIGAR FILLER: Pennsylvania Seedleaf--3.7 million pounds, no change. ALL U.S. TOBACCO--697 million pounds, down three percent.

Just because tobacco is rejected at the receiving station does not mean that the tobacco is inferior. I have found that this decision--tobacco being rejected--is based on several factors, [among them] supply, and also the ability of tobacco companies to purchase that same grade in other parts of the world for a cheaper price. We all remember 1996 and Hurricane Fran. I saw tobacco purchased on the auction floor that was at one time stored, over ten years old and rotten, for a $1.96 a pound, top price then. The demand was so great that year, quality did not make a difference. The same holds  true today. It is not a quality issue, rather it is a supply/demand issue. Is supply abundant? More tobacco rejected. Is supply short? Less tobacco rejected. The criteria for grading tobacco changes with supply and demand, not quality.
Tom Blair, Virginia  

1723 Goldsboro St. SW, Wilson, N.C., 
in the old Liberty Warehouse
Mann Mullen is the owner of Big M auction warehouse in Wilson, N.C.
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