Tobacco Asia

Volume 19, Number 1

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 56 of 75

How Does Cutting Down a Tree Protect the Toco Toucan? By harvesting managed Eucalyptus trees for use in construction and as fuel for curing barns, producers like Nelson Wagner preserve native forests for birds like the Toco Toucan and help protect the Planet. It's part of our commitment to unite the world under One Vision of action-oriented social responsibility. ACTION-ORIENTED SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ACTION-ORIENTED SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY See Our Vision for Positive Change What some farmers were thinking was that it might be prudent to upgrade existing equipment rather than buying new. MarCo was able to help there. "We have some upgrade equipment for older machines," said Pharr, including an upgrade kit for the "cutter" bar (the harvesting component) for harvesters and a computerized curing control kit. These items were popular among farmers. When It Pays to Renovate In 2013 and 2014, a vast number of curing barns were bought by flue-cured growers to fill what was an obvious need for more curing capacity given the size of those crops. With the reduced volume of contract pounds that manufacturers have offered through February, some growers may have more barn space than they need, rather than less. Grower Jeff Simpson of Roseboro, NC, has avoided this predicament even though his curing capacity needed to be expanded. Instead of buying new barns, his strategy has been to buy and renovate used barns. "I rebuild them on my farm and install new burners," he said while visiting the Ra- leigh show. "I put $6,000 to $7,000 in them. A new one will cost $40,000. I can put in 16 rebuilt barns for the cost of 2 new ones and they do just as good a job." He gets the burners from BulkTobac of Charlotte, NC. "It is the simplest burner on the market and it sells at a reasonable price," Simpson said. "It has very few parts to work on." He limits his purchases to 1978 model Roanoke barns of the Roanoke brand, and especially 1978 models which he finds at auctions. He thinks the barns should last 20 or more years after they are renovated. Flue-cured Farmer Bales on Burley There is definitely an evolution going on among US growers of the various types. For instance, in the Piedmont of North Carolina, there was a lot of interest in the year's right after 2005 in producing burley on farms where it had not traditionally been grown. Few Piedmont growers tried harder to make the new type work than Bobby Baker of Ellisboro, NC, 40 miles north of Greensboro. But after the 2012 season, having grown burley for six years, Baker gave up on it and returned to full-time growing flue-cured. Declining yields were the reason. "For the first four years, we were always able to get 2,300 to 2,400 pounds per acre," he said in an interview just before the Southern Farm Show. "But the last two years, we got only 1,400 pounds per acre." At that level of production, the crop seemed too much of a risk. "I just didn't want to take another chance on it, so I got out of it," he said. Ironically, he had worked out an efficient system of harvesting and handling. He cut his burley with a tobacco knife, speared the stalks on sticks, and hung them in an open- sided three-tier barn that he covered with black plastic during the cure. That essentially is the traditional method, except that his barn was designed for low-cost construction. Tim Yarbrough: "Every conversation among growers is about the bleak forecast of real leaf demand."

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Tobacco Asia - Volume 19, Number 1