TRAY SANITATION TOPS TOBACCO GROWER SHOPPING LISTS AT SOUTHERN FARM SHOW
With Dorton Arena looming in the background, farmers confer in front of the Company Wrench display at the Southern Farm Show on February 1. The display included the JCB Teleskid (just visible at left), the first skid steer or compact tracked loader with a telescopic boom on the market. It attracted a steady stream of visitors, as seen here.
How to sanitize float trays: Since the loss of methyl bromide, steam cleaning trays at a water temperature at 176 degrees for at least 30 minutes has become a popular strategy for replacing fumigation. At the Southern Farm Show in Raleigh, N.C., at the end of January, three brands of "steamers" attracted a stream of interested farmers:
The newest was the Agri-Steamer sanitation system from Evans MacTavish in Wilson, N.C. The Agri-Steamer offers 800- to 1,900-tray capacity with access doors at both ends that allow for easy loading and unloading.
Long Equipment Mfg. in Tarboro, N.C., which introduced its Steaming Eagle steamer at the 2016 Southern Farm Show, now is marketing a "second generation" unit called the Steaming Eagle XL, which can be operated at a much faster speed than the original Steaming Eagle.
Carolina Greenhouses of Kinston, N.C., entry into the market is called the Steamerator. The conventional sized unit holds approximately 840 trays. The company also markets a small steamer called the "Mini" for limited acreage. It steams approximately 240 trays per rotation.
There is another strategy for sanitizing. Beltwide Inc. of Tampa, Fl., makes its Trilogy Tray from injection-molded plastic, and it is expected to last longer than standard expanded polystyrene. The Trilogy Tray is much easier to sanitize: Simply spray with a high-pressure water hose or pressure washer. No need for a steamer. Belt-wide says Trilogy Trays are more durable. But cost is an issue.
A high-clearance spra-yer tailor-made for tobacco attracted a lot of attention at the Raleigh show. Randy Watkins, co-owner of Gran-ville Equipment, said the 420TS sprayer is fitted with a 420-gallon tank, a John Deere premium cab and a Deere diesel engine. It has three-speed transmission and all-wheel drive. A simple nozzle rotation allows for different chemical applications like contact sucker, fungicide and broadcast.
More on heat-not-burn products: The Tobacco Growers Association of N.C. voted at its annual meeting February 2 to support--with a couple of conditions--the HNB concept. "We would support a product that uses quality U.S. tobacco," said Graham Boyd, the executive vice president of the organization. "But we want to see it manufactured in the U.S. of 100 percent U.S. tobacco."
One problem will likely arise if the industry con-verts to HNB, said Blake Brown, N.C. Extension eco-nomist, who spoke at the Tobacco Growers Associ-ation of N.C. Meeting. The requirements of HNB pro-duction seem certain to make it more expensive to produce. "Will buyers be willing to pay these higher costs?" he asked.
Editor's Note: Watch for more coverage of the South-ern Farm Show and the tob-acco growers meeting in the next issue of Tobacco Farmer Newsletter.
Report from overseas: Zimbabwe's export incentive for leaf growers has been raised from five percent to 12.5 percent for the 2018 tobacco marketing season. As in the past, the new incentive will be paid directly into the grower's bank account on a monthly basis, according to a statement from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The statement warned tobacco growers "to desist from selling their tobacco to middlemen, as doing so would result in...losing out on the Export Incentive."
First estimate of 2018 production: Universal Leaf issued its first estimate of leaf production for 2018 on February 6. It predicts:
Flue-Cured--The world total is estimated at 8,177 million green pounds, down three percent from the previous season. Brazil's crop is estimated at 1,322 million green pounds, down three percent from last season, while the USA's crop is estimated at 430 million green pounds, up less than one percent from last season. The PRC flue-cured crop is estimated at 3,858 million green pounds, down eight percent from last season.
Burley--The world total will be up 15 percent at 1,303 million green pounds. Brazil's burley crop is estimated at 165 million green pounds, up 6.6 percent, while the USA crop is down an estimated 1.5 percent at 143 million green pounds. The PRC burley crop is estimated at 143 million green pounds, same as last season.
Oriental--The world total is up nearly five percent at 392 million green pounds.
Dark Air-Cured--The world total is up 11.5 percent at 255 million green pounds.