A no-till planter in action in south Central Kentucky. See story on conservation tillage below.
In Kentucky,burley growers are well on the way on transplanting, says Bob Pearce, Kentucky Extension tobacco specialist. "But we are slightly behind our normal schedule." The oldest fields are three to four weeks old. Some burley land is saturated but in other places it is pretty dry.
Conservation tillage continues to grow in popularity in Kentucky. "It may beapproaching 25 percent of the crop," says Pearce. There are several good advantages to conservation tillage. "But you have to remember that it requires a little higher level of management of the tobacco plus you have to manage the cover crop as well." The major benefit is improved conservation plus fewer trips across the field, he says. A special transplanter is needed, like the C&M Trium transplanter with a no-till option shown above.
In North Carolina, it has been rainy, especially in parts of the Old and Middle Belt. "Our research station at Oxford has had 10 inches of rain in the last few weeks," says Matthew Vann, N.C. Extension tobacco specialist. "About 90 percent of the flue-cured crop has been transplanted." The last 10 percent will be a challenge.
In Virginia, there was extensive flooding in the Southside, says Lunenburg County Extension agent Lindy Tucker. "Tobacco and grass are growing." In the Southeast, Brunswick County Extension agent Cynthia Gregg said, "Flooding was an issue early in the county. Fields were flooded along with approximately 28 roads beingimpassable. Several tobacco fields had some washes." Burley plantings for the state were estimated 58 complete, flue-cured 74 percent complete and fire-cured 63 percent complete.
The Georgia-Florida crop has been transplanted for about a month, says J. Michael Moore, Georgia Extension tobacco specialist, "Sucker control is beginning." Tomato spotted wilt has appeared. "But it looks like we are heading for an average year."...Moore believes that acreage in the two states is about like last year: 12,500 acres for Georgia, 1,250 acres for Florida.
ANOTHER APPOINTMENT IN TOBACCO
Jennifer Atkins has been named Marketing Specialist covering the Southside of Virginia for the Virginia Department of Agriculture. Her work subjects will include flue-cured and dark tobacco in the Southside, and also some work with burley growers in Southwest Virginia. A native of Danville, Va., and a graduate of Averett
University and Green Mountain College, Atkins has most recently served as Agriculture Director for Tyton BioSciences in Danville. Atkins takes over the former post of Bill Scruggs, who is now Manager of VDACS Domestic Sales and Market Development in Richmond. He says he will still be involved with tobacco, but Jennifer will be the department's point person on leaf.
MORE GAP MEETINGS ON THE WAY
You are not yet done with GAP Connection meetings, but the remaining ones are strictly voluntary. From mid June to early August, GAP Connections will hold a series of 15 meetings to present information on safety and compliance. "This is a one-stop training offered to growers and workers," said Amy Rochkes, Training & Resource Coordinator with GAP Connections. "Workers can learn a great deal about safety and compliance in their native language (English and Spanish) directly from the professionals." There is no charge, but pre-registration is recommended. Visit www.gapconnections.com or call GAP Connections at (865) 622-4606. A tentative schedule follows:
Monday, June 18, Grower's Warehouse, Tifton, GA, 9 a.m.--12:30 p.m.
Wednesday, June 20, Safe Marketing, Mullins, SC, 9 a.m.--12:30 p.m.
Friday, June 22, Warren Farms, Newton Grove, NC, 9 a.m.--12:30 p.m. & 2 p.m.--5:30 p.m.