Tobacco Asia

Volume 18, Number 3

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tobaccoasia 61 Flue-Cured While the intermediate-to-long-term market out- look is uncertain, current demand for US flue- cured tobacco remains strong, said Blake Brown, N.C. Extension economist. "This situation is the result of growing Chinese demand for US tobacco and the weather-related inability to increase production of good quality flavor style flue-cured tobacco in the US and Bra- zil in recent years," said Brown. "Wet weather in autumn 2013 in some parts of Brazil caused the 2014 crop to fall short of the hoped-for 1.4 billion pounds, at about 1.34 billion lbs. In late 2013, some buyers attempted increase 2014 US production. But this momentum slowed over the winter as the Brazil crop proved not to be as low as initially feared and as US producers responded to the calls for higher production. "Zimbabwe re-emerged in the late 2000s as a producer of flavor style flue-cured tobacco," Brown said. "Zimbabwe production for 2014 [the crop planted in autumn 2013 and still being mar- keted] may exceed 350 million lbs with production forecast to be up for the 2015 crop. Prices thus far for the 2014 Zimbabwean crop have averaged about $1.68 per pound." Planting intentions for US flue-cured tobacco as announced in March by USDA were for 232,000 acres (93,888 ha) for flue-cured, up 3,500 acres from the 228,800-acre 2013 crop. There is a ten- dency in the trade to consider this report (which is issued annually) as a conservative projection. "In previous years, planting intentions were as much as 10,000 acres below the [eventual] actual crop acreage for the year in question," he said. "While 2014 acreage may be up, a limiting factor seems to be the availability of transplants. Severe Farmer Benny Lee of Sanford, N.C., takes a careful look at test plots at the Central N.C.Crops Research Station in Clayton for evidence of black shank on June 2.

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