Tobacco Asia

Volume 19, Number 5

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50 tobaccoasia / Issue 5, 2015December/January) By Chris Bickers The 2015 tobacco season in the United States will be remembered as one in which the production prospects started low and just kept going down. When the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued its last projection of tobacco production on October 9, it placed burley production at 152 million pounds, 5 million pounds less than it esti- mated in its first report of the year and 29% less than last year. It put flue-cured production at 468 million pounds (m.lbs.), 5 m.lbs. less than its origi- nal estimate and 18% less than last year. Among the individual states (USDA projec- tion for 2015 and change from 2014): BURLEY: Kentucky – 114 m.lbs., down 30%; Tennessee – 19.2 m.lbs., down 29%; Pennsylva- nia – 11.2 m.lbs., down 11.5%; Ohio – 3.3 m.lbs., down 22%; Virginia – 2.1 m.lbs., down 26%; North Carolina – 2 m.lbs., down 23%. FLUE-CURED: North Carolina – 365.5 m.lbs., down 19%; Virginia – 48.3 m.lbs., down 10%; South Carolina – 27.1 m.lbs., down 18%; Georgia – 27.3 m.lbs., down 20%. OTHER TYPES: Fire-cured – 56.9 m.lbs., down 3%; Dark air-cured – 17.6 m.lbs., up 0.75%; Connecticut/Massachusetts cigar types – 4.1 m.lbs., down 1%; Southern Maryland – 3.6 m.lbs., down 21%; Pennsylvania seedleaf – 3.9 m.lbs., down 18%. Reports from farms document that it was a difficult season. In Oxford, NC, north of Raleigh, the weather started off wet, then turned dry. "When we started harvest, the ground leaves were not good at all," says Carl Watson, who di- rects tobacco production (all flue-cured) at the NC Department of Agriculture tobacco research station in Oxford. "We started irrigating, trying to get the sap back into the leaves." The second and A Dismal Season for Tobacco Ends in the US Buyers place their bids for flue-cured tobacco offered for sale at the Old Belt Tobacco Sales warehouse in Rural Hall, NC.

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