Monday, April 16, 2018
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Thursday, March 22, 2018
The world's number two leaf dealer, Alliance One International (AOI), has withdrawn from the American burley market, at least for 2018. In a statement provided to Tobacco Farmer Newsletter, the company said,
"With U.S. cigarette sales declining at a rate of 3% per year over the past three years and global cigarette sales following a similar trend, demand for the U.S. burley tobacco crop has declined as well. As a result, we made a difficult decision to not contract any burley tobacco this year. We understand the economic impact of that tobacco has on farmers and their local communities, and this decision was not a reflection of the farmers or their crop quality, but rather the change in global demand."
Excess production, for instance: Daniel Green, c.e.o. of Burley Stabilization Corporation (BSC), notes the current market environment for burley is very challenging. "In spite of the drastic declines in American Blend cigarette sales in recent years, growers have continued to produce burley because of the lack of alternative crops, resulting in oversupply," he says. "Tobacco dealers are generally very averse to holding any more inventories than necessary in the current climate."
And what about several developments on the national level?" Among them are the potential regulatory changes being considered by the FDA that might require tobacco to contain much less nicotine," says Green.
BSC is still working on its 2018 contracts, Green says, and will probably send letters to its members next week. "We will help them as much as we can."
There will definitely be a reduction in burley acreage this year. Will Snell, Kentucky Extension tobacco economist, estimated earlier in the year that the demand for 2018's
It looks that way to Tennessee Extension tobacco specialist Eric Walker as well. "It appears that we are looking at a planting cutback of at least one third, and that might be a conservative estimate," he says. "I am not aware of any buyers that might pick up the slack."
The hardest hit areas will probably be those near Hartsville, Tn., where AOI has operated its burley buying station. That would include Trousdale, Smith and Macon counties, all in Tennessee, and nearby Allen County, Ky. Note: Macon has been America's leading burley-producing county in recent years.
The immediate impact of AOI's exit from burley will be much greater in Tennessee than Kentucky because AOI had already cut back on contracting in the Bluegrass state. "But this is a lessening of demand, so there will be increased competition among growers for the pounds that are out there," says Bob Pearce, Kentucky Extension tobacco specialist.
Farmers should emphasize quality to retain the contracts they have, says Pearce. "Some of the big [quality] concerns this year would be reducing foreign material in cured leaf and keeping pesticide residues in line with industry expectations."
A demonstrated willingness to participate in GAP as much as possible would probably be a good idea. "Getting involved with the GAP Certification program that is being rolled out could help show a commitment to the tobacco industry. But certification may not be feasible for every burley farmer," Pearce says.
In other tobacco news:
As expected, planting has begun in Florida and is expected to begin in Georgia soon after. "Farmers here are preparing for tomato spotted wilt and black shank using all precautions available against them," says J. Michael Moore, Georgia Extension tobacco specialist who also handles tobacco Extension work in Florida.
In the Southside of Virginia, it's been wet and cool, so there has been very limited land preparation, says David Reed, Virginia Extension tobacco specialist. Fumigation has been delayed too, and some greenhouses haven't even been seeded yet. So, he doesn't expect much planting till the end of April or early May.
Virginia flue-cured plantings will definitely be down. "It will be across the board, maybe five percent and probably no more than 10 percent," says Reed.
GAP GROWER TRAINING EVENTS
Check with your local Extension Service office for further details.
All meetings listed here are free and presented in English
Monday, March 5, 2018
There may be a crop or two planted in Florida this week, but most growers there will probably wait till March 20 or later, while Georgians will probably start in earnest around April 7, says J. Michael Moore, Georgia/Florida Extension tobacco specialist. "We will have plants in plenty of time. Farmers are already clipping on a regular basis." Most plants are of good color, he adds. There have been no issues with insects and only a little pythium.
Steaming is catching on in Georgia, says Moore, as a few commercial plant producers are providing steaming as a service to their customers. Farmers are still doing some rinsing of trays. But dipping or rinsing trays in cleanser is only surface cleaning, and it can't provide decontamination of pathogens embedded in the walls of the trays.
In Kentucky, a few steamers have been used but the traditional dip treatment in a 10 percent bleach solution remains the most common strategy, says Bob Pearce, Kentucky Extension tobacco specialist.
Another possibility: Trilogy trays have actually done well in Kentucky testing. "We looked at them side by side with other treatments, and there was little difference in performance," says Pearce. "The biggest issue is price, although it seems like the trays are durable enough to last longer than conventional trays. But many growers are reluctant to make a long-term investment."
A proactive approach to disease control in the greenhouse is a key to growing a quality transplant, says Pearce. Leafspot diseases are a good example. "You need to begin preventive spray when plants are just big enough to cover the cell," he says. "Spray Manzate once a week, substituting Quadris one week."
AND THE WINNERS WERE:
A number of awards were presented--and one new grower leader was introduced--during the 2018 Southern Farm Show held from January 31-February 2 in Raleigh.
The Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina presented six awards during its annual meeting on the last day of the show:
The Tobacco Farm Life Museum presented two awards at its annual "Breakfast with the Commissioner" on the last day of the show:
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture presented its export award during the Ag Development Forum on the second day of the show:
The U.S. Tobacco Cooperative (USTC) introduced its new Chief Executive Officer:
Sunday, February 25, 2018
|A new tool for transplanting: This new FMax transplanter from Ferrari in Italy, seen here on display at the recent Southern Farm Show, can plant continuously on different soil types without requiring an adjustment. "You can run from red clay to sand without missing a lick," says Don Watkins of Granville Equipment, which is distributing the transplanter in the U.S. It can be built for two to eight rows, he adds.|
Seeding is well under way in eastern North Carolina, says Matthew Vann, N.C. Extension tobacco specialist. And it is getting started in the west, he adds. "It is going pretty well so far. The ambient air temperatures have been good."
The only problem: Overcast conditions have reduced the light available for germination. "We like to see four or five consecutive days of clear, sunny skies when we seed," says Vann. "However, cloudy conditions do not seem to have caused any major issues to date."
When will transplanting begin in N.C.? To this point, one might expect that plants will get to the field in a timely manner, starting maybe April 15 to 20. "But we usually have some growers who want to get out sooner," Vann says.
Report from Ontario: Contracting is for the most part complete in Canada's tobacco-growing area of southern Ontario, says David VanDeVelde, flue-cured grower in Delhi, Ontario. Official statistics won't be available for a while, but VanDeVelde believes acreage pla-nted will be down slightly from 2017, when 193 growers contracted for 18,491 acres. In 2016, 195 growers contracted for 15,353 acres. VanDeVelde is the new chair of Ontario Flue Cured Tobacco Growers marketing board.
North of the border, labor is out of sight: Quite a few Canadian tobacco growers attended the Southern Farm Show in Raleigh earlier this month. Among them were Paul and Desiree Arva of Mount Pleasant, Ontario, who came down from Canada looking for labor-saving tobacco machinery. "We just had a big increase in in the minimum wage," they said. "We need to find any way we can to reduce the labor we need to produce a crop."
VanDeVelde confirmed Arva's report, noting that there had been a 23 percent increase in Canada's minimum wage in the past year. "Farmers are definitely looking for labor-saving equipment." Most tobacco labor is brought in from the Caribbean and Mexico. All Canada's tobacco, by the way, is flue-cured. Substantially all of it is grown in Ontario.
Zimbabwe down: Plantings of the 2017/18 tobacco crop in Zimbabwe is down 5.5 percent from the same period last year, to 104,397 hectares, according to the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board in that country. The decline is largely attributed to the late onset of rains in the previous summer, when planting takes place. Flue-cured is the leading type in Zimbabwe.
Malawi suffering drought: Thanks to an intense drought, Malawi's tobacco production for this year was estimated at about 149 million kilograms in January, almost 12.8 percent less than international market demand, a national survey showed. Another survey will be released in March, and there is some optimism about what it will say. "At the time of assessment, much of the crop, especially in the Southern Region, was affected by the dry spell," said Kaisi Sadala, chief executive officer of the Tobacco Control Commission. "We are expecting that, with the advent of rainfall now, the picture should be different when we are doing the last crop assessment." Last year, the country grew about 124 million kg of all types of tobacco. Burley is by far the leading type.
Industry report: Vaping benign? A public health agency in England created a controversy a few weeks ago when it issued a review of the available evidence that concluded that vaping poses only a fraction of the health risk of tobacco smoking and should be encouraged among smokers seeking health benefits. Unfortunately, that doesn't help tobacco farmers because vaping products contain essentially no tobacco.
Date To Remember: On March 2 at 10 a.m., the annual meeting of Tobacco Associates Inc. will take place at the Wilson County Agricultural Center, 1806 S. Goldsboro St., Wilson, N.C.
GAP GROWER TRAINING EVENTS
Check with your local Extension Service office for further details.
All meetings listed here are free and presented in English.
- February 26, 4 p.m. Central City, Ky.
- February 26, 6 p.m. Lafayette, Tn.
- February 26, 6 p.m. Bowling Green, Ky.
- February 27, 10:30 a.m. Morehead, Ky.
- February 28, 10 a.m. Hardinsburg, Ky.
- Feb 28, 10:30 a.m. Owensboro, Ky.
- March 1, 10 a.m. Campbridge City, In.
- March 1, 10:30 a.m. Hopkinsville, Ky.
- March 2, 10:30 a.m. Lexington, Ky.
- March 6, 2:30 p.m. Mayfield, Ky.
- March 7, 6 p.m. Greeneville, Tn.
- March 7, 1 p.m. Nashville, Ga.
- March 12, 10:30 a.m. Tifton, Ga.
- March 13, 10:30 a.m. Marion, S.C.
- March 13, 1 p.m. Murray, Ky.
- March 19, 9 a.m. Mechanicsville, Md.
- March 20, 1 p.m. Quarryville, Pa.
- March 20, 9 a.m. Quarryville, Pa.
- March 20, 6:30 p.m. Glasgow, Ky.
- March 20, 6:30 p.m. Gray, Tn.
- March 20, 7 p.m., Georgetown, Ohio.
- March 21, 10 a.m. Wilson, N.C.
- March 21, 9 a.m. New Holland, Pa.
- March 21, 1 p.m. New Holland, Pa.
- March 22, 1 p.m. Turbotville, Pa.
- March 22, 9 a.m. Turbotville, Pa.
- March 22, 7 p.m. Bedford, Ky.
- March 26, 6 p.m. Bardstown, Ky.
- March 28, 7 p.m. Georgetown, Oh.
Sunday, February 18, 2018