Tuesday, November 23, 2021



Bales of burley await marketing in the Bluegrass of Kentucky. Photo courtesy of the Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association.

As best I can tell, all U.S. tobacco plus all Canada’s crop (see below) has been harvested since early this month. The last may have been some very late burley in Western North Carolina. But any still in the field on November 4 would have been killed by a frost event that day. Otherwise, almost all of this year’s tobacco seems to have escaped freeze damage. And it seems to have produced better than average quality almost all around.

All types did well in Tennessee: In Middle Tennessee, yields f0r dark air-cured, fire-cured and burley are expected to be a little better than average and quality seems good, says Mitchell Richmond, Tennessee Extension tobacco specialist. “There have been some good seasons lately for order and case.” For East Tennessee, an average to slightly better than average yield is expected. The curing season was better than average and good quality is expected in this region as well, Richmond says.  

The quality of the dark types in Kentucky and Tennessee keeps getting better. “This is the best dark tobacco crop since 2014,” says Andy Bailey, Kentucky-Tennessee Extension dark specialist. “I am seeing a remarkably consistent crop on the floor,” he says. The yield is good, too. “One farmer reported a yield of 3,600 pounds per acres,” he says. “We had some hard frosts around the end of October, but no damage was reported--all of our tobacco was harvested by that time.” Much of the two dark types is curing in the barn, but some has been stripped and taken to market.

Flue-cured in Ontario was high quality too. “The quality is excellent,” says Maythern AL-Amery, Team Leader of the Canadian Tobacco Research Foundation in Tillsonburg. “[But] the yield was lowered by the heavy rains we experienced.” Harvest ended several weeks ago and there was no major problem with frost. Acreage had been estimated by some as 13,000, but AL-Amery says that may be subject to revision NOTE: Almost all tobacco grown in Canada is grown in the province of Ontario, and almost all Ontario tobacco is flue-cured.
How do you har-vest Connecticut Broad-leaf? Sorting wrapper/ binder and filler grades in a crop of Connecticut Broadleaf takes about two to 2.5 times longer than stripping dark or burley. Leaf dealers have allowed their Connecticut Broad leaf growers to reduce the time spent sorting wrapper and non-wrapper leaves by using a ‘straight strip’ method: Growers strip off and segregate the trash leaves at the bottom of the stalk, then the obvious filler leaves in the lower stalk. All of the leaves in the top half of the stalk that have potential to be wrapper leaves are stripped together and oriented in cardboard boxes. At delivery, the dealer collects samples to determine the percent wrapper grades in the crop and set the price per pound accordingly. Higher prices are offered for crops with higher percent wrapper leaves.

Brazil: The 2020/2021 tobacco crop has come to a close and the 2021/2022 crop is now being transplanted, says ITGA’s Tobacco Courier. A survey of members of the growers association suggests a reduction of approximately five percent in area planted in tobacco.

Zimbabwe: Sales of the 2021 crop were completed with clean up sales at the end of September with a higher than estimated crop to be sold, according to Tobacco Courier. Initial estimates were under 200 million kilograms, but by the end of the season it appeared that close to 212 million kilograms had been sold. Prices late in the market held around US $2.80 vs. 2.50 per kilogram at the same point in the previous market. Prices were firmer because of the better quality on offer.

Malawi: The seasonal average price of all tobacco types on the recently ended market was $1.59 per kilogram, compared to $1.53 per kilogram recorded during the same period last year.


  • The annual TN/KY Tobacco Expo will take place on February 1 at the Robertson County Fairgrounds in Springfield, Tn., with speakers from the Universities of Tennessee and Kentucky and from GAP Connections. 

  • The N.C. Extension tobacco team will hold a series of webinars for flue-cured growers in December. To learn how to participate, see https:// tobacco. ces.ncsu.edu/2021/11/december-webinar-series/. There will be no NC Tobacco Day this year.

  • The Southern Farm Show will be held in Raleigh, N.C., on February 2-4.

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