TRANSPLANTING ENDS AS HARVEST KICKS OFF IN GEORGIA & FLORIDA
Nearing the end: A Kentucky farmer wraps up setting.
Transplanting will probablybe complete by the weekend, in Kentucky, if not sooner, saysBob Pearce, Kentucky Extension tobacco specialist. "Most of the crop has been in the ground for two weeks and looks good." Al Pedigo of Scottsville, Scottsville, Ky., hoped to finish transplanting on Saturday the 27th. "It's definitely been a late crop so far," he told TFN.
That was largely due to rains. And the dark types in western Kentucky and Tennessee were affected by the same weather. Andy Bailey, Extension dark tobacco specialist, thinks about 98 percent of the dark tobacco has been set out and the rest will be by the weekend. Normally it would be complete by now. "This could prove to be a problem for dark tobacco growers who are trying to double crop their barns," he says.
Mountain burley lags: In Virginia, planting of burley was completed last week. In Tennessee, all but five percent of the crop was reportedly set. But in North Carolina, 18 percent of the state's burley crop was yet to be transplanted. In the N.C. Mountains, rainfall near average and temperatures slightly lower with cloudy conditions for most of the period in Jackson and Swain counties.
Coastal Plain heats up: In North Carolina, farmers in the east went from wet and cool weather to hot and dry weather very quickly. "Our crops could use a little shower of rain in the evenings at this time," said a USDA source covering Franklin, Halifax and Nash counties. Soils have reportedly dried out in Johnston County south of Raleigh due to very little rainfall and windy and hot conditions. Near the ocean, in Craven County, the lack of rainfall has allowed field work, but crops are still behind normal growth stages. Farmers have been forced to make difficult decisions regarding management priorities--adjust for nutrient loss, manage weeds or remedially treat for tobacco budworm? In South Carolina, crops benefited from frequent rainfall last week. However, some areas experienced ponding in fields. Topping was going on full speed, with 31 percent of the crop topped
Old Belt makes adjustments: North of Raleigh, flue-cured growers in Granville County are trying to apply nitrogen without causing the leaf to stay green into the fall, another USDA source says. Growing conditions have been good, but some foliar diseases are starting to show up. In Virginia, fieldwork had been slowed by wet conditions two weeks ago, with some fields flooded. But the weather dried and allowed growers to get in the fields. To "leaching adjust" or "not to leaching adjust" was the big question. Transplanting was complete for flue-cured and nearly complete for fire-cured.
Deep South: Harvest will get going in earnest in Georgia and Florida next week, says J. Michael Moore, Georgia Extension tobacco specialist. Some may have taken place already. Some irrigation is going on, especially in Florida. "It has been very hot," Moore says. "The quality looks good, but the leaf is thin." Moore estimates that a little over 8,000 acres of flue-cured have been planted in Georgia and perhaps 1,000 acres in Florida.
Still another type of tobacco in the Black Patch? The same dealers who contracted with farmers to grow Connecticut broadleaf last year are now contracting for limited plantings of the Pennsylvania Type 41 tobacco in the dark tobacco areas of western Kentucky and Tennessee. It is primarily a cigar wrapper type like the Connecticut type but has some other uses. Type 41 may have a little higher yield potential than Connecticut, says Bailey. He believes there are a few hundred acres of Type 41 growing in the Black Patch now, along with a few thousand acres of Connecticut.
REPORT FROM OVERSEAS
Argentina's tobacco market was disrupted by the country's coronavirus lockdown. When it began in March, roughly a third of the flue-cured and virtually all of the burley in the country remained to be delivered. "Purchases of burley were just beginning when COVID-19 broke out," said José J. Aranda of the Cámara del Tabaco of Salta. "[The delays] and the slower pace of purchases has had a greater impact on the quality of burley leaves than flue-cured." As a result of the lockdown, points of sale experienced a shortage of cigarettes. "This, in turn, means cigarette sales are down." But the lockdown ended in early June and there is hope that its effects on growers will not be pronounced.
Names In The News: Mark Stewart has been named the new President of Drexel Chemical Company, replacing Ben Johnson, who is retiring.
ACREAGE PROJECTION FROM USDA SHOWS
FLUE-CURED DOWN 19%, BURLEY DOWN 10%
THIS JUST IN: USDA released its first estimate of 2020 tobacco plantings yesterday. Acreage was estimated at 149,300 acres, two percent below last year. Following are USDA's planting projections divided by types and by state for flue-cured and burley, with percentage change from 2019:
North Carolina--92,000 acres, down 21 percent,
Virginia--14,000 acres, down six percent,
Georgia--7,500 acres, down 16.7 percent,
South Carolina--7,000 acres, down 15 percent,
United States -120,500 acres, down 19 percent
Kentucky--36,000 acres, down 12 percent,
Pennsylvania--2,100 acres, down 16 percent,
Tennessee--4,700 acres, up 17 percent,
Virginia--400 acres, down 42 percent, and
North Carolina--300 acres, down 25 percent,
United States--43,500 acres, down 10 percent.
SOUTHERN MARYLAND (PENNSYLVANIA)--400 acres, down 60 percent.
FIRE-CURED--13,450 acres, down 17 percent.
DARK AIR-CURED--9,300 acres, down six percent.
PENNSYLVANIA SEEDLEAF--2,300 acres, up six percent.