Monday, August 21, 2017


 This harvest crew on a Southside Virginia farm bales flue-cured leaf.

USDA has projected 14 percent more burley production and five per cent more flue-cured production in 2017 compared to last year based on its July grower survey. Even more impressive, the dark air-cured and fire-cured crops are projected to rise a whopping 59 and 40 percent over the weather-damaged 2016 crops for these types. Small increases were projected for the minor types Southern Maryland and Pennsylvania seedleaf. Following are the projected volumes by state and type including the percentage change since 2016.

  • North Carolina--352 million pounds, up six per cent. 
  • Virginia--47.25 million pounds, down two percent. 
  • Georgia--28.75 million pounds, up one percent. 
  • South Carolina-- 26.4, up six percent. 
  • All flue-cured--454.4 million pounds, up five percent from the 2016 crop.

  • Kentucky--120 million pounds, up 12 percent. 
  • Tennessee--23 million pounds, up 46 percent. 
  • Pennsylvania--11.7 million pounds, down six percent. 
  • Virginia--2.3 million pounds, down eight percent. 
  • North Carolina--1.89 million pounds, up five percent.
  • All burley--160 million pounds, up 14 percent.

  • Kentucky--32 million pounds, up 46 percent. 
  • Tennessee--22 million pounds, up 32 percent. 
  • Virginia--840,000 pounds, up 61 percent. 
  • All fire-cured--55.34 million pounds, up 40 percent.  

  • Kentucky--13.5 million pounds, up 75 percent. 
  • Tennessee--3.25 million pounds, up 38 percent. 
  • All dark air-cured --16.75 million pounds, up 59 percent.

  • Pennsylvania--4.5 million pounds, up eight percent.                    

  • Pennsylvania--4 million pounds, up four percent.

Auctions begin: Big M Tobacco Warehouse and Horizon Ltd. Warehouse, both in Wilson, N.C., and both selling by sealed bids, kicked off flue-cured auctions for the year with sales on August 16. Kenneth Kelly, owner of Horizon Ltd., said that theofferings at his house, all downstalk, were limited. But it appeared to him that as of now, very good quality is coming out of the east, and the weight is average to slightly above average. "It is certainly sellable," he says. "Prices might be a little better than last year, but we will need to sell more to be sure of that." The buyers were a similar group of dealers and small manufacturers as in years past, he adds. Old Belt Tobacco Sales, in Rural Hall, N.C., which conducts live auctions, will hold its first sale on August 22.

For more information, call Horizon at 252 292 8822; or Big M at 919 496 9033 (or at the switchboard at 252 206 1447), or Old Belt at 336 416 6262 (or at the switchboard at 336 969 6891. EDITOR'S NOTE: Any other flue-cured auctions are invited to email their operating information to chris for inclusion here. And watch for a list of burley auction warehouses in the near future.

Be sure to inspect burley barns well before housing, says Don Fowlkes, manager of agronomy for Burley Stabilization Corporation. "Tier poles should be structurally sound and safe," he says. "Make sure the ventilation doors work properly. Consider making ventilation doors or barns which don't have them, especially if the barn is located in a low area that doesn't get much air flow. And be sure that the roof doesn't leak."

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