Kentucky tobacco looks good early: Topping will probably start on burley by the first of July, says Bob Pearce, Kentucky Extension tobacco specialist. "A few may start sooner. There are no issues in the field so far. I would say at least 70 percent is planted, and we are in good shape to get the rest planted soon." He has seen no major shortage of plants, he says.
In Tennessee, 80 percent has been transplanted. In Virginia, 96 percent of the burley, and in North Carolina, burley is 74 percent set. In Yancey County in western N.C., soil conditions had been very wet at the beginning of the week ending the 16th because of the heavy rains the week before, but conditions improved enough by mid week to allow some field work.
In Virginia, flue-cured is 98 percent set in the field. Continued rain has added to the existing moderate flooding In Brunswick County in the southeast part pf the state. Several roads were closed. Some ponding occurred in fields. In Appomattox County in central Virginia, it had been dry, so rain fall last week came as a relief. Hard dry soil had been a problem, but after the rain, tobacco farmers were able to walk and replant later-planted fields as needed. So stands should be good.
In South Carolina, Horry County in the Pee Dee received much needed rain over the weekend. The tobacco crop, which had been suffering from drought, showed improvement going forward. The crop is completely set out, and more than 30 percent has been topped.
In neighboring Georgia, an estimated 22 percent has been topped.
in other tobacco news
A few Piedmont growers quit after last season, says White. "But those who stayed in tobacco look to have planted about the same acreage as last year."
One more opinion on H2A workers in burley: Mark Turner of Livermore, Ky., began using guest workers to grow burley and dark air-cured tobacco six years ago and says it has proved a godsend. "It is expensive to bring in H2A workers, but I think it is still cheaper than relying on local labor," he says. "With H2As, you know you will have enough help to get your crop harvested in a timely manner." There is a definite price to not getting things done when they need to be done, says Turner, "and that happens when you depend on local help."
DATES TO REMEMBER
July 22, 8:30 a.m. N.C. Organic Commodities Field Day. Till 12:30 p.m., followed by lunch. Cunningham Research Station, Kinston, 200 Cunningham Rd., Kinston, N.C.
July 23, 9 a.m. Tobacco Tour-Field Day, Upper Coastal Plain Research, 2811 Nobles Mill Pond Rd., Rocky Mount, N.C. Ends approximately 3 p.m.
August 13 9 a.m. The Kentucky Burley Tobacco Industry Tour will be held at the University of Kentucky Spindletop Research Farm in Lexington. It will end about 3 p.m. Note: The event will last one day only.
Safety and compliance: GAP Connections will host 11 Farm Safety & Compliance Training Events this summer. The free training events are presented in English and Spanish. Attendees will rotate through interactive stations as they learn about safety and compliance topics required by the GAP Program. There will also be an opportunity to earn CPR & AED certification during the events at a registration fee of $25. You must pre-register. Visit www.gapconnections.com or call GAP Connections at (865) 622-4606. Dates and places appear below.
GAP Farm Safety & Compliance Events:
GAP annual training events: