Setting out flue-cured in Eastern NC. File photo by Christopher Bickers.
Reports on the crop's progress from selected areas of tobacco production
The outlook for tobacco in Georgia and Florida is favorable. “We are very hopeful of a good crop,” says J. Michael Moore, Georgia Extension tobacco specialist. “Soil moisture is good, although we could use more rain now.” Transplanting in both states is complete.
Much of the crop is approaching layby. Moore is not sure of the acreages in the two states but says Georgia’s plantings are likely to be less than 6,500 in 2022. That would be 17 percent less than the 7,743 acres planted in 2021. In Florida, he thinks plantings will be down 10 percent from 1,691 in 2021 to 1,522 for 2022.
Tomato spotted wilt is ramping up. “At this point it appears to be 10 percent or less statewide, but we are seeing some fields with 50 percent infection. That might translate into a 25 percent loss in yield. That would be a big problem for this crop since so many expensive inputs will have already been expended by this time.
Budworm control is approaching in Georgia and Florida, and this too needs to be done right. “Besides precision application, you need a good scouting program to determine when to spray without wasting any of your chemicals.”
Sucker control is another area for economies, and that’s important because prices appear to be up about 30 percent. “Start on a timely basis,” says Moore. “Use all three means of control: contacts, maleic hydrazide and the orange chemicals.” If you use everything when it needs to be used, good control should be achievable.
Everything is looking good in Tennessee, says Mitchell Richmond, Extension tobacco specialist. Setting of burley began last week in middle Tennessee and is in full swing there now. Several growers in east Tennessee started planting burley this week. Planting will probably pick up as this week progresses, he says. “I expect most of the crop will be set in the next two weeks.
The greenhouse season was good, he said. "Our plants are ready to take to the field. We have had good weather since we began planting.” But Tennesseans across the state will need some water pretty soon.
A cost-saving reminder: Variety selection is the first step in controlling black shank in tobacco. If you are in a field with known black shank, make sure you properly apply transplant water applications of fungicides by following the label. This is no year to be losing any control because of inefficiency.
Plantings so far (from participating states):Flue-cured--VA, 53%. NC, 74%. SC, 80%. GA, 100%. FL, 100%. Burley—KY, 11%. VA, 29%. Dark—VA, 31%. Source:Crop and Progress Report, NASS
REPORT FROM OVERSEAS
Zimbabwe--Could wheat attract acres out of tobacco? Zimbabwean officials are promoting wheat plantings since imports from Ukraine—a major source of wheat for Zimbabwe—has largely been forced out of the international market. There has been public discussion that at least some tobacco fields could be converted to wheat. Key factor--Many tobacco fields in Zimbabwe have access to irrigation which would be very handy for wheat production.