Wednesday, June 29, 2011

From the July 2011 issue of Tobacco Farmer Newsletter

Late June Crop Report: Specialists and farmers described the condition of this crop at the recent U.S. Tobacco Forum (June 23 and 24 in Durham, N.C.) and in interviews following. Here is what I gleaned from what was said.

lue-cured--Virginia acreage is five to 10% above last year, estimated David Reed, Extension tobacco specialist. To date the state’s flue-cured has done well--Reed called it one of the most uniform crops he has seen. “Irrigation just started this week,” he added “We’ve had more spotted wilt than we are accustomed to.” North Carolina had a cool spring and good soil moisture, said N.C. Extension tobacco specialist Loren Fisher. “We got off to a good start. The Old Belt was delayed in planting, but it’s gotten adequate rainfall since then. The Eastern Belt has been dry in late spring and early summer.” Fisher estimated that N.C. growers planted 175,000 to 180,000 acres, with possible production of 400 million pounds…South Carolina had some of its crop planted March 20 and soon after, which is quite early, said Dewitt Gooden, Extension tobacco specialist. “That part is matured out already. Now we have a very spotty crop, very up and down. Some farmers have begun topping now”… Georgia and Florida have very uniform crops, said J. Michael Moore, Extension tobacco specialist. He thinks 14,000 acres were planted, significantly up from last year thanks to the return of Philip Morris USA to the Deep South and vigorous contracting in those states by U.S. Growers Direct. He estimates Florida plantings will hold at between 850 and 1,000 acres. “Irrigation has been running non-stop. Topping is going on right now, and a few farmers are harvesting already.”

urley--The Virginia burley crop is late, said Danny Peek, Extension tobacco specialist. From May 1 on, plants were ready but farmers couldn’t get into the field to any extent until Memorial Day. Most of the crop was set in the first two weeks of June. That could be a problem later on. “There is no way we can harvest that much in two weeks,” said Peek. Another problem: Plant development may be slowed because much of the crop was set in cloddy fields. “We had to reset more than in several years,” he said. Acreage is about what it was last year…In Kentucky, burley grower Eddie Warren of Richmond, Ky., told TFN,  “We had a cold, wet May that delayed transplanting, and now this crop is later than normal,” said the burley grower. “The weather turned dry at the end of May and in early June. Everyone was ready and they got the crop in.” Not all tobacco growers were dealing with drought in late June. Al Pedigo of Glasgow, Ky., said it has been wet in his area, preventing him from planting 50 of his planned 250 acres. Will he get it all in? “Not unless it is dry the next week or 10 days,” he said. If he can’t plant by July 5 he probably won’t because that is the “drop dead” date for crop insurance in his area…There were some rainy areas in Tennessee, also. Just before the Forum, Barry Bush of Cookeville had four inches of rain, following several weeks of extreme heat. Then right after the Forum, three more inches of rain fell. “There was some drowning, and we have now lost about 10% of our crop,” said Bush. “We have done some re-setting already, mainly due to the heat and some hail damage.”

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Which tobacco growers use H2A workers the most?

More than half of flue-cured and  dark tobacco growers participating in a recent survey reported using H-2A labor in 2010. Among flue-cured growers, 69% used H-2A labor last season compared to 64% of dark tobacco growers. Only 21% of burley growers reported using H-2A workers. For more details from the survey, which was conducted by the Center for Tobacco Growers Research at the University of Tennessee, go to the organization's website at

There was definitely an increase in plantings in North Carolina of the flue-cured variety NC 196 this year, says Sandy Stewart, N.C. Extension tobacco specialist. "It performs consistently over a lot of different soil types, has good yields and a good disease package," he says.

Budworms began to appear in flue-cured in late May and early June. If you used Coragen in your transplant water for budworm control but you still find second instar larval populations above a 10% infestation level, select a material with a different mode of action If you decide you need a foliar rescue treatment, says Hannah Burrack, N,C. Extension entomologist. Tracer or Blackhawk, Denim, Orthene and methomyl would be possible choices. Important note: To avoid any development of budworm resistance to Coragen, if you used Coragen in the transplant water do not apply Belt or Coragen as the first foliar treatment following transplant .

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Crop Report: Flue-cured states

If it weren’t for the fact that much of Georgia is 10 inches behind in rainfall and sweltering in intense heat, J. Michael Moore would be delighted with the prospects for the Type 14 crop. “The uniformity and appearance are good,” says the Georgia/Florida Extension tobacco specialist. “I frankly don’t see how it could look so good, considering the drought and extreme heat.” The temperature in the tobacco-growing area reached 100 degrees on June 1, only about a week before sucker control would need to start. “At this stage of growth, it is critical for the tobacco plant to receive water,” says Moore. “Fortunately, nearly 100% of our crop can be irrigated, and unless it rains, I expect we will see a lot of irrigation in early June. If it gets enough water, we have the potential for an excellent crop.”

Tomato spotted wilt virus damage may not be too serious on Georgia-Florida tobacco, says Moore. “About 10% of our plants are showing some signs of TSWV, but it apparently developed later than normal, so we may not lose as many whole plants.” The incidence was generally less where Admire Pro or Actigard or both were used, he says.

North Carolina had it hot, too, by June 1, when much of the eastern part of the state experienced 100-degree temperatures. Sandy Stewart, N.C. Extension tobacco specialist, says, “We are getting dry in some spots.” Planting of the flue-cured crop was done in a timely manner, and Stewart says he thinks growers planted all the acres they intended to. “I have to believe we have as much acreage as last year and possibly a little more.”

South Carolina’s tobacco-growing areas--except for the coastal areas--got significant rains the last weekend of May. “Up to then we were getting dry,” says Dewitt Gooden, S.C. Extension tobacco specialist.  “Now, I would say the crop has pretty good prospects. We finished transplanting three weeks ago, and most is between layby and starting contact sprays.” The only problem so far: A little tomato spotted wilt. “But I am hopeful we can grow out of that.”

NOTE: These four items and the posted just before them on Kentucky and Tennessee appear in the June issue of Tobacco Farmer Newsletter, mailed June 5, 2011, The newsletter contains additional editorial material on tobacco management beyond what appears here. If you are not now receiving TFN and would like to be on the list, email the editor at If you grow tobacco, note what types  or what other tobacco affiliation you have, Also include the state where you live.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Crop report: Burley transplanting behind in Tennessee, Kentucky

Tennessee and Kentucky burley growers are running way behind in transplanting because of a rainy spring. "We would normally like to see about half the crop transplanted by June 1," says Daniel Green, chief operating officer of Burley Stabilization Corporation (BSC) in Springfield, Tn. Instead, he doesn't think much more than a quarter is actually in the field. Only a few days in May were dry enough for field work. But much of Tennessee was rain free from May 31 on, and farmers made up for lost time. The first two weeks of June are a good time for setting burley, says Green, but he is not sure all of the crop will be transplanted in that time frame. How much will be planted? Acreage in the BSC states--Tennessee North Carolina and Virginia--may end up slightly higher than a year ago, Green estimates...In the dark tobacco areas of Kentucky and Tennessee, transplanting was about 45% complete by June 3, says Andy Bailey, KY-TN Extension tobacco specialist. Some plants have been in the greenhouse longer than desirable, he says.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tobacco tours set

            The 2011 Georgia-Florida Tobacco Tour will begin with a kick-off supper at Mixon's Pond House in Waresboro, Ga., on Monday, June 13, and will end near Lake City, Fla., on Wednesday, June 15. 
The 2011 North Carolina Tobacco Tour will take place July 18-20. For more details, go to the website 
            The Kentucky Burley Tobacco Tour will take place August 15 and 16.  “This is later than normal, which would be August 1 and 2,” said Bob Pearce, Kentucky Extension tobacco specialist. “But with the late planting, the later date will give us the best opportunity to see the status of the crop.”