Tuesday, May 26, 2015


A farmer and his workers set out flue-cured plants near Vass, N.C. (file photo).
BURLEY In the Bluegrass of Kentucky, burley growers are dealing with a lot less tobacco and a late start, says farmer-auction operator Jerry Rankin of Danville, Ky. "We are about two weeks behind now. Maybe 20 percent of the burley has been set in this county. You can drive from Danville to Lexington and you will only see a patch or two planted." Statewide, maybe eight to 10 percent of the crop has been planted. Plants have been slow to grow. "We had a time getting the ground worked," says Rankin. "I hope it doesn't turn off dry." The supply of plants is satisfactory. "I have had better plants, but I have had worse," says Rankin. "On a scale of one to 10, this crop of plants would rate an eight."

In eastern Tennessee, Jeff Aiken of Tedford, near Johnson City, has planted a third of his burley crop, but he has seen very little transplanted on neighboring farms. "I don't know it farmers are holding off because of the dry weather," he said. "Rain has been spotty in east Tennessee, and some areas have been extremely dry. So some farmers may have been hesitant to go full steam ahead on planting. But we did get a little rain Thursday and it has greatly benefited what had been transplanted by that point." Weather conditions earlier slowed the development of plants in the greenhouse. "But mine did just fine." There have been no serious problems in the greenhouse or field. "I had some issues with pythium," said Aiken. "But I jumped right on it with Terramaster, and I didn't get much of a delay." In middle Tennessee, tobacco is being set but needs some moisture, says Extension Agent A. Ruth Correll of Wilson County, which is just east of Nashville, in Tennessee Crop Weather.

And in southwestern Virginia, Washington County Extension agent Phil Blevins says farmers have just begun transplanting, and the crop looks good. "We have an adequate supply of transplants so far." But plantings are going to be down thanks to reductions in contracts, he says.

FLUE-CURED In central and eastern North Carolina, just a few fields remain unplanted. Some farmers have started laying by their flue-cured, says Matthew Vann, N.C. Extension tobacco specialist. "We have had very good weather except for theLONG TOBACCO BARNtropical storm (on Mother's Day). Places like Kinston and Goldsboro got 4.5 to 7.5 inches. But the farmers were able to deal with it. It has actually been dry since then, but we got sufficient rain Thursday across the state to carry the crop." It has also been cool in the last 30 days, with night time temperatures frequently in the Fifties. But Vann expects the tobacco to take off whenever conditions become normal. Around Kinston, "tobacco transplanting continues to wind down as growers struggle to finish in the wettest fields," says Chris Jernigan, Department of Agriculture agronomist. In the Oxford area, tobacco is progressing, and transplanted fields seem to be in good shape, says Gary Cross, Person County Extension agent in N.C. Crop Progress and Condition. But he adds, "I have seen some transplant replacement work going on."

In the Southside of Virginia, probably 90 percent of the crop is planted, says Chris Brown, Halifax County Extension agent. No rain had fallen in May before Thursday, but then there was about a half inch of rain. "That rainfall helped a  lot," Brown tellsTobacco Farmer Newsletter. "Some of the earlier planted tobacco was getting irrigation because of the dry weather. In just a few fields that we can't irrigate, we saw up to a 50 percent loss due to the dry weather." The crop will be way down, "maybe 20 percent, maybe more," says Brown. It has also been dry in Lunenburg County, a few miles east of Halifax. "We lost some tobacco transplants in the clayey areas of some fields with this dry, hot weather," said Lunenburg Extension agent Lindy Tucker in Virginia Crop Progress and Condition. "Most of the transplants look good and have begun to grow thanks to all of the sunshine we have had."

In the Pee Dee area of South Carolina, it is dry, but tobacco isn't suffering yet, says Ben Teal of Patrick, S.C. "It wouldn't hurt to have a half inch or more on most fields," he says. "The youngest tobacco is suffering the most." His tobacco, all flue-cured, is all planted. "We've had a good survival rate, and we have a good stand. If we get a good shower, the tobacco will hop on up." S.C. tobacco is beginning to grow off real well thanks to warmer temperatures, said Kyle Daniel of Georgetown County. "We avoided those huge rains (on May 11) so farmers were able to get into the fields all (that) week," he said in the S.C. Crop Progress and Condition Report.

 209 Harding St., Danville, Ky.
PH: 859-236-4932

Full-service burley warehouse

Jerry Rankin, Owner

Thursday, May 7, 2015


High quality transplants help get the flue-cured cop off to a fast start, like this one in a greenhouse at  Cross Creek Seed, Raeford, N.C.


NORTH CAROLINA--Transplanting in the Piedmont is right on time, in contrast to the Coastal Plain, which is behind. "The Piedmont hasn't had as much rainfall in the past two weeks, which allowed farmers to do field work," says N.C. Extension tobacco specialist Matthew Vann. "But the Coastal Plain is having to catch up." There is a wide range: Some Coastal Plain growers have finished transplanting. "But in Lenoir and Wayne Counties this week, I saw some land that was ridged up but didn't have a single plant in it," says Vann...The supply of plants is adequate, and the quality is "as good as any crop I have been a part of." There was a lot of clipping as plants needed to be held pending better environmental conditions. "There would have been more
except some farmers delayed seeding their greenhouses a little later than normal. I would say many houses got 12 to 15 clippings, and a few got 20 or more." Vann hopes transplanting will wrap up in the next week and a half in the Coastal Plain and maybe by the end of May in the Piedmont. Despite the late start that many farmers got, Vann thinks some fields will be ready for layby in three weeks.

VIRGINIA-- In Lunenburg Coun-ty, transplants have done well so far, says tobacco Extension agent Lindy Tucker. "Tobacco really just started going in this week (ending May 3), but we'll probably see some major progress this coming week," she said in USDA's weekly Crop Progress and Condition Report. Statewide, flue-cured is eight percent transplanted, burley is only two percent transplanted and the small fire-cured crop is one percent transplanted.

SOUTH CAROLINA—Transplanting in South Carolina was slowed significantly due to the wet weather, but what has been planted—which is most of the crop--looks good, says William Hardee, Extension area agronomy agent for Horry & Marion Counties. The upcoming warmer temperatures should get the crop on the move. There has been considerable interest in organic tobacco this year, says Hardee. Farmers generally have been able to find new land or old pasture land to satisfy the rotational requirement.

GEORGIA-FLORIDA--Planting is substantially complete, with development in the field well on its way in some fields, especially in Florida. "All plants produced in the state were used, and some plants were brought in from other states to fill in the voids," says J. Michael Moore, Georgia Extension tobacco specialist. There are no major pest problems in the field so far, he says. There is some tomato spotted wilt virus, but generally less than five percent of plants show symptoms. Most plants got one application of Imidacloprid in the greenhouse, and some applied Actigard as well. "That is our most effective treatment for tomato sported wilt virus," says Moore. "Imidacloprid and Actigard in the greenhouse." Moore continues to think that Georgia will end up with 12,000 acres planted while Florida will wind up with 1,200. That would be roughly a 25 percent reduction for both states (not 10 percent, as the TFN editor mistakenly calculated in the last issue--apologies for the bad arithmetic). Now, there is a wide range of moisture conditions. "We could use some rain in some areas but in others, the fields are too wet to work," he says.
KENTUCKY--Burley farmers are just beginning to plant, says Bob Pearce, Kentucky Extension tobacco specialist. "Our plants are a little late," he says. "If more were ready we would plant a lot more this week, I think." Variegated cutworms could appear in the greenhouse this time of year--Pearce says Orthene sprays are about the only control measure. You don't want to let cutworms go undetected. They can chew through a lot of plants in a hurry," he says...According to USDA's Crop Progress and Condition report for Kentucky, transplant supplies were reported as 1 percent very short, 4 percent short, 87 percent adequate, and 8 percent surplus. Forty-two percent of transplants were under 2 inches, with 38 percent between two and four inches, and 20 percent over four inches. 

TENNESSEE--Drier conditions allowed for some field work to begin this week, says Ronnie Barron, tobacco agent in Cheatham County, Tn., near Nashville. "Tobacco transplants are looking good. Growers hope to start with early transplanting within the next week." 

KENTUCKY-TENNESEE--Plantings of dark tobacco has just begun, with the first probably taking place in Christian County in southwest Kentucky, says Andy Bailey, Extension dark tobacco specialist. He doubts that more than five percent of the crop has been planted, but the weather has been very good, so things will pick up quickly and continue perhaps to the last week of June. A few variegated cutworms, mainly black, have shown up, and there is a little collar rot also. Burley plantings have been cut down dramatically, says Bailey. "There is a slight decrease in dark types. A little more burley seems to have transplanted than dark."

 209 Harding St., Danville, Ky.
PH: 859-236-4932

Full-service burley warehouse

Jerry Rankin, Owner