Tobacco Asia

Volume 19, Number 4

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60 tobaccoasia / Issue 4, 2015 (September/October) By Chris Bickers The American leaf industry definitely did not need a bumper crop from the 2015 season. Through the beginning of August, it was clear there wasn't going to be one for either of the major tobacco types, although for different reasons. The burley region was for the most part inun- dated with rain, especially in the two weeks begin- ning July 1. It was a situation reminiscent of the water-damaged crop of 2013, and estimates of lost yield potential ranged from 10-25% or more. Flue-cured areas were for the most part hot and dry. It was not clear in early August whether there would be a significant yield loss or not, since flue-cured is resilient to drought and also since many flue-cured growers have access to irrigation. But a big crop seemed definitely out, and quality problems seemed likely. It was very unclear how much acreage had ac- tually been planted. Growers of both types had re- portedly planted substantial acres without benefit of a contract, and there was little indication as to how much of an effect that would have of production. BURLEY Much of Kentucky had way too much water this summer, especially in the first two weeks of July, and some tobacco was severely damaged. "Farmers from one end of the state to the other have had it too wet," said Scott Travis, who farms near Louisville, Ky., in mid July. "Central and Eastern Kentucky suffered the most." Even on the driest land, farmers have experienced sig- nificant yield loss, he said. Estimates of yield loss ranged from 10% to 15% to even a 25% reduction. "It would be possible for the crop to recover some if the weather is good," he said. "But a major turn- around would be required." The rain fell almost daily in much of the state, said Bob Pearce, Kentucky extension tobacco spe- cialist. "At one location it was reported to have fallen 14 out of the first 15 days of July," he said. "Some of the crop may recover, but as a whole, it is not likely to regain its full potential." In Maysville, Ky., there had been around 15 inches of rain in the last month, a burley tobac- US Leaf Report The hated blue mold lesions plagued this flue-cured field in the 2000s. Blue mold appeared on burley at several loca- tions in Tennes- see and North Carolina in 2015, but never developed enough to affect yield. Farmer Stanley Smith (far right) directs workers as they remover flowers from the plants (topping) in order to direct the energy of the plants into the leaves. This took place on August 7, a bit late, but much of the N.C. crop was very uneven in its growth. This is flue-cured and the farm is near King, N.C., and also to Winston-Salem, in the Piedmont. The workers are Hispanic migrants.

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