Wednesday, November 3, 2021



Burley is enjoying a good curing season so far in Kentucky and Tennessee, like this burley near Lexington, Ky. But in North Carolina, some of the burley remains to be cut very late.
Photo courtesy of Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association.

Dodging the bullet: There was a heavy frost in central Kentucky last night, and freezing weather is expected in the area over the next week, says Jerry Rankin, owner of Farmers Tobacco Warehouse in Danville, Ky. But he doesn't think there is any burley left in the field to be damaged. "The last crop I saw growing around here was cut two weeks ago," he says.

Almost all of the 2021 burley and flue-cured was spared frost damage, although a few growths like the burley of the N.C. mountains and the flue-cured of the N.C. Piedmont still had tobacco unharvested at the beginning of this week.

The first burley auction of the year will take place at Farmers Warehouse the last week of November, says Rankin. But the location will be different: Farmers Tobacco has moved out of its longtime home near Centre College in Danville, Ky. "This year we are selling out of a warehouse on Hwy. 55 between Springfield and Lebanon." For further information, call Rankin at PH 859 319 1400 or call the main warehouse number at 859 236 4932.

Burley projection too high? Rankin is very skeptical about USDA's recent projection of 74 million pounds of burley in Kentucky. "It's been a wet year across the Burley Belt, and wet tobacco doesn't yield that good." Perhaps more damaging, many growers found it difficult to field a full harvest crew because of the labor shortage and didn't get the crop harvested in a timely manner, reducing yield. He thinks 50 million pounds is a more realistic estimate. "I hope I am wrong," he says.

Flue-cured auctions have a few more weeks to go. “We will have two or three more sales,” says Dennis White, owner of the Old Belt Tobacco Sales auction in Rural Hall near Winston-Salem. “Just a little tobacco is still left in the field, and I understand that most of that will be harvested today (Wednesday).” The volume had been good on the last four sales, and White says there is plenty of tobacco remaining to be sold. Most top tobacco attracted bids of around $1.80, White says. “The weather in the Piedmont went well for farmers, and all our farmers made their contract and right much more.”

A vote will take place 0n November 18 on whether to continue the North Carolina research and education assessment . Ballots will be available at county Extension offices that day. The check-off program allocates about $200,000 a year to research and extension projects at N.C. State University. A two-thirds majority of votes is needed to pass.

Report from overseas: Malawi sold a total of 123.7 million kilograms of tobacco (all types) in the market season recently ended, compared to 114 million kilograms last season. That's an increase of 8.5 percent.

A dynasty in tobacco tying? The Maple Hill Loopers won the N.C. Tobacco Looping Contest held October 15 at the State Fair. It was the team’s seventh victory in the annual contest. The team is made up of husband and wife Sandy and Ken Jones of Maple Hill and Michael Sunday of Hendersonville. Sandy looped the stick of tobacco in 58.8 seconds and earned 68 out of 70 points for quality. The team took home a $250 price. The second and third place finishers were the Barbour Vineyard Team of Benson and the Tiemasters of Kernersville.

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