Sunday, April 17, 2022


Transplanting on an Ohio burley farm in 2017. Photo by Christopher Bickers.

Planting in Florida and Georgia  is progressing well, says J. Michael Moore, Georgia Extension tobacco specialist. By Saturday, he expects half the crop will probably be planted, perhaps more in Florida. USDA’s Prospective Plantings Report had earlier projected plantings of 8,000 acres for Georgia, but Moore is very dubious that this will materialize. “I don’t think we will get to 7,000 acres,” he says. No report on Florida acreage yet…There will be plenty of transplants for every grower in the two states thanks to good growing conditions. There may in fact be enough of a supply to send some plants to other states if they need them, he says. As in all recent years, nearly all transplants in Ga/Fl were grown by a relatively small number of commercial producers…The stand of this crop in the field looks good so far, but there some fields will need replanting.

About 25 percent of the South Carolina crop will probably have been set out by Saturday, says William Hardee, S.C. Extension tobacco specialist. The transplant-growing season has gone well. “We saw some rhizoctonia and Pythium in a few houses but neither was a huge problem”… Soil moisture has been suitable for transplanting so far, but now Hardee says, “We could use some rain.” …With investments already made in transplant production and land prep, many S.C. farmers are concerned with how to move forward with the late contract cuts, he adds…This would be a good year to take a hard look at soil sample results and possibly take advantage of built-up nutrient levels.
In Raleigh, North Carolina, the US Tobacco Cooperative has cut its contracts to growers by 75 percent from last year. Some farmers are taking the full cut, but others reportedly will plant some beyond their reduced contracts in hopes of selling it in an alternate market.

Seeding is nearly complete in Kentucky, says Bob Pearce, 
Kentucky Extension tobacco specialist. “A few are running a little late but most should be done by now.” First clipping is get-ting close for early seeded greenhouses. “Transplant-ing is three weeks away at the earliest.” …How much burley? USDA’s Prospective Planting Report, projected that Kentuckians will  plant 36,000 acres of burley, up three percent from last season. But Pearce is dubious that this level of plantings can be achieved. “What I am hearing is that a lot of burley acreage from last year will not be planted in 2022,” says Pearce. The report projected 3,200 acres for Tennessee, up 10 percent. and 1,800 acres for Pennsylvania, down 28 percent...Pearce agrees with previous reports that some of the expected increase in dark plantings is coming from farmers who formerly planted dark and burley but who are replacing burley with dark this year.


Wednesday, April 6, 2022


Transplants await transfer to fields.

Is it possible that a farmer could grow an average crop of tobacco and sell it for the average prices and still not make back the money he spend on inputs thanks to their rising costs? A scary thought, indeed, and at this point, the only strategy is going to be to keep production costs as low as possible. TFN will share any time a good one shows up. Including the three that follow.

  •        This is no year to be experimenting with unproven inputs, says Matthew Vann, N.C. Extension tobacco specialist. “Stay with the practices that have proven their worth. You can do your own testing in years when the outlook is better.”
  •        This may be the year to save money on phosphate and potash by carefully following soil test recommendations, says Andy Bailey, Kentucky-Tennessee Extension dark tobacco specialist“Two thirds of Kentucky soil tests from tobacco fields--analyzed by the University of Kentucky soil lab each year-- will recommend zero phosphorus needed, and one third will recommend zero potassium needed,” he says Bailey. ”Follow those recommendations to save costs.”
  •        For the next crop, plan to go the extra mile on tray sanitation once your greenhouses are empty.

--Flue-cured--There’s been no transplanting so far in N.C., says Vann. “I know two or three growers who want to start on April 5 or 6. But morning temperatures may be too cold for that.” Farmers in N.C. had a fairly good greenhouse season, he says. “A good crop of plants should be going to the field.”
--Dark--Seeding is nearly finished in the Black Patch. “We should be done next week. I haven’t seen any clipping, but it should start soon,” says Bailey. Seeding started a little late, in part because some media wasn’t available. There has also been some chilling as daytime temperature sometimes got to 85 degrees while night temperatures reached 55 degrees, a situation that can cause chilling.
In other tobacco news:
A shift to dark types: Some shift from burley to the dark types has been observed. But it is not a case of dark moving out of the tra-ditional area of Kentucky and Tennessee. Instead, farmers who have grown dark types along with burley are dropping their burley and making up some or all of the difference with dark.

New tobacco pathologist in Virginia: Yuan Zeng will begin work as tobacco pathologist stationed at the Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Blackstone by August 12. Zeng, a graduate of Beijing Forestry University, China, earned three graduate degrees at Auburn. She will be performing research, Extension and teaching responsibilities on a number of field crops, including corn and soybeans as well as tobacco.

--announced March 31--projects 15 and 14 percent increases in acreage respectively for fire-cured and dark air-cured types but only two and one percent increases for flue-cured and burley. Tobacco of all types was projected up three percent. Details follow:

North Carolina, 126,000 acres, up five percent over last year. Virginia, 12,500 acres, down 14 percent. Georgia, 8,000 acres, same as last year. South Carolina, 6,500 acres, down 14 percent. United States, 153,000 acres, up two percent.
Kentucky, 36,000 acres, up three percent. Tennessee, 3,200 acres, up 10 percent. Pennsylvania, 1,800 acres, down 28 percent. Virginia, 300 acres, down 17 percent. North Carolina, 200 acres, down 20 percent. United States 41,500 acres, up one percent.
FIRE-CURED Kentucky, 10,000 acres, up 15 percent.
Tennessee, 6,600 acres. 10 percent. Virginia, 350 acres, up 106 percent. United States, 16,950 acres, up 14 percent.     

DARK AIR-CURED                                                          
Kentucky, 7,200 acres, up 18 percent. Tennessee, 4,800 acres, up 20 percent. United States, 12,000 acres, 19 percent.     

CIGAR FILLER: Pennsylvania Seedleaf (Pennsylvania only). 2,600 acres, up four percent.     

SOUTHERN MARYLAND: Pennsylvania only, 250 acres, down 29 percent.  

ALL TOBACCO: United States, 226,300 acres, up three percent.