Friday, June 12, 2020


Nitrogen-deficient flue-cured plants in eastern North Carolina earlier this week. 
(Photo: NCSU).

Too late for lower stalk leaf? In some areas of North Carolina, a portion of the flue-cured shows an almost banana yellow color in the lower stalk, says Matthew Vann, N.C. Extension tobacco specialist. This indicates severe nitrogen deficiency.
A nitrogen leaching adjustment will probably do very little to help these severely deficient leaves on the very bottom of the plant but will greatly help those in the top, Vann says. "The demand for nitrogen in the newly developing upper-stalk leaves greatly outweighs the need for nitrogen in the older, lower-stalk leaves. When we see a nitrogen deficiency at this stage of growth, it's almost too late for the older leaves to rebound."

A crop may not "green up" from a nitrogen application immediately under the hot and dry conditions which N.C. had at the beginning of this week. "We need rain or irrigation to facilitate nitrogen movement from the soil solution into the root zone 
for uptake." 

Application methods
are also a factor. "If a crop has not yet reached the layby stage, then use con-ventional practices to deliver the nitrogen," Vann says. "If the crop is bigger than lay-by stage, then high clearance sprayers should be used to apply liquid nitrogen materials directly to the soil that have been mixed with water to ensure a high delivery volume." For more information on this subject, go to Tobacco Growers Information Portal (

A Report on the Crop: Field dispatches from USDA Crop Progress Report...

  • Kentucky--Farmers were able to make a good deal of headway in the fields last week thanks to accommodating weather. Planting progress had been stunted by consistent rain in the prior weeks. Tobacco setting quickened and at 54 percent sits just behind last year. 
  • Tennessee--Growers had a mostly rain-free week to set tobacco. An estimated 45 percent of the burley crop had been transplanted by June 8.
  • Virginia --Growers set out 72 percent of their burley by June 8. 
  • North Carolina- Nearly half the crop was set by June 8. Near normal rainfall with above normal temperatures were reported in the mountain counties where most of the state's burley is grown.
The cold wet spring shocked much of the flue-cured, and growth recovery has been slow. But last week was finally normal. Tobacco growers are struggling to catch up. In Granville County, tobacco is doing well except in wet areas of fields and some where nitrogen was lost, it was reported. Organic fields especially are showing loss of color, and farmers are working to get additional nitrogen applied. In Craven County, rains continue to delay field work. Tobacco struggles with excess water in soils that are too wet to take any corrective action.

Webinar to replace N.C. field day: The Extension tobacco team in North Carolina will present a live webinar on the morning of July 16. It will replace the annual 
field day originally scheduled for that date but canceled due to coronavirus.
Extension ag economist Blake Brown will update the tobacco situation at the webinar and the rest of the team will join for a live question and answer segment. Video recordings of field trials will be available from July 13 on the NC Tobacco Portal. Other states may take the same approach. Watch this space for more details.

South America: Looking for help, the tobacco growers associations in Brazil and Argentina have plead with manufacturers to advance part of the price of the next tobacco to be deducted from the eventual sale price, according to a report from the International Tobacco Growers Association. Growers would use the revenue to finance wages, inputs and other expenses during this period.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020



But the Deadline is Fast Approaching

If you were impacted by the cancellation of GAP Annual Training, please review your options to receive training prior to the June 30 deadline:
  • Online Training: GAPC is offering an online option for growers. Growers will need to go to, sign-in using their Grower ID and password, navigate to "Online Training" under Training on their dashboard and follow the instructions.
  • Mail Option: If requested, GAPC will mail a Tobacco Information booklet containing information from GAPC and Extension Tobacco Specialists. To receive credit for 2020 GAP Training, a grower must complete the included quiz and return it to GAPC by June 30, 2020.
Visiting your local Extension Office: If guidelines allow Extension offices in your local area to be open, contact your County Extension office about the possibility of video training (please note this is not available in all locations).
Growers do not need to complete these options if they have already attended a 2020 GAP Annual Training.
GAP Training covers the three components of Good Agricultural Practices - Crop, Environment, and Labor. Training provides an opportunity for growers to learn about the newest research and information in tobacco production and labor related matters.

GAPC will not record training for growers after June 30. For questions about training, contact GAPC at (865) 622-4606. 
From GapConnections

Thursday, June 4, 2020


Still a long way to go: An Ohio burley grower and his crew hustle to get the crop out. (File photo by the editor.)

  • Virginia--Probably half of the flue-cured crop here went through a period of very cold weather, says David Reed, Virginia Extension tobacco specialist. Some, but not all, is showing the effects. Favorable weather, like most of the tobacco area experienced this week, would help. The range of development on this crop is very wide. "We have tobacco being set this week and some that will soon reach layby," he says. The tobaccos set in the week leading up to the cold snap experienced the most damage. Perhaps 200 acres had to be replanted. Overall, the crop is fairly uniform though it's a bit off color. Reed predicts that between 14,000 and 15,000 acres will be planted. USDA estimated that 75 percent of the crop had been set by the end of May. 
  •  North Carolina--Only a little flue-cured, if any, remains to be planted. The acreage is not clear yet, but Matthew Vann, N.C. Extension tobacco specialist says, "I don't see how we could wind up with much more than 100,000 acres," Vann says. Transplanting was behind from the start because of rain and multiple frost events and many days when there was a threat of a frost. "We are finally getting some normal dry weather here in Raleigh. We are hoping tobacco will 'jump' and will make up some lost time," Vann says. 
  • South Carolina--Heavy rain has slowed field work. Planting is complete but topping hadn't begun as of May 31, according to USDA's Crop Progress Reports. Estimated acreage remained 7,000 to 7,500.
  • Georgia-Florida--Tobacco continued to look uniform and healthy with some areas showing signs of heavy deer damage, according to USDA's Crop Progress Report. One percent had been topped by May 31. Acreage in Georgia was estimated at 8,000.


  • Kentucky--The crop has made a lot of progress in the last week and a half and is off to a good start, says Bob Pearce, Ken-tucky Extension tobac-co specialist. It ap-pears that farmers will get all the acres planted that they planned to. The plant supply has been adequate. Around 50 percent of the crop has been planted, he estimates. It had been too wet early in this planting season, but now a little shower would be welcome on a lot of farms, he says.
  • Tennessee--The crop in Middle Tennessee is later than usual, says Rob Ellis, Director at the Highland Rim Experiment Station in Springfield. There has been a lot of rain in this area, and plants have been affected. "But they will be okay if we can get some dry weather," he says. "We got some here [Springfield, Tn.] and it helped." Planting at the station is continuing. "What we have planted here has only been in the ground for about two weeks." The oldest burley in middle Tennessee was only transplanted about three weeks ago, he adds. 
  • North Carolina--In the burley-producing area of western N.C., it has been extremely wet. At the research station in Laurel Springs, nine inches fell in a five-day period the week before last, and the soil is still drying out. "We haven't started transplanting at the station yet," Vann says. For all N.C. burley, an estimated 34 percent has been planted, according to the Crop Progress Report. 
  • Virginia--Just under half of the burley crop had been set by May 31.


  • Virginia--The small Virginia dark fire-cured crop will be smaller this year. American Snuff--one of the major buyers--decided not to contract for the type in Virginia. The early estimate is that plantings will be down a third. Nearly two thirds have been planted. Some fire-cured growers are turning to Connecticut broadleaf. They have an advantage in growing it because they are familiar with the labor-intensive process of producing wrapper leaf, which is what broadleaf buyers are looking for. NOTE:  There is probably a demand for more fire-cured wrappers on the current market than is currently being met, sources have told TFN.
In other tobacco news:

GAP training: You have till June 30 to participate in the GAPConnections online program if you weren't able to attend a meeting. Login into GAP Connections and find the link for Online Training on the Grower Dashboard. Follow the instructions. Questions? Please call GAPC at (865) 622-4606.


Zimbabwe--The much delayed opening of the tobacco market has finally taken place. It had been stalled by government officials for a month while methods to prevent spread of coronavirus were developed. The restrictions they have imposed have not set well with growers, especially a stipulation that tobacco will be sold only by appointed agents and not by the farmers, who are forced into waiting areas so as to reduce crowds at the auctions. "We are not afraid of coronavirus," one farmer told the news organization. "The risk is that farmers could be cheated out of their money due to the new guidelines which say we must give our crop to a representative who will come here to sell on our behalf."