Tobacco Asia

Volume 19, Number 4

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62 tobaccoasia / Issue 4, 2015 (September/October) now," said J. Michael Moore, Georgia extension tobacco specialist. "There was greater than aver- age incidence of tomato spotted wilt virus and some serious problems with black shank." But he expects a normal yield of around 2,200 pounds per acre across the state, on about 12,500 acres. It might be a little on the thin side. In neighbor- ing Florida harvest was well along at the beginning of August. Farmers had a very good crop. There has been adequate rainfall, and Moore expected a yield in the range of 2,600 pounds, on about 1,250 planted acres. In South Carolina, the tobacco, all flue-cured, got off to a good start and fared reasonably till the dry spell set in. Grower Ben Teal of Patrick, S.C., in the Pee Dee area, said, "We had a good survival rate, and we have a good stand." But more rain was much to be desired. Extension agent Kyle Daniel of Georgetown County said, "We avoided those huge rains (on May 11), so farmers were able to get into the fields all (that) week." In North Carolina, quality of the flue-cured leaf coming out of the barn reportedly ranged from moderate to exceptional as of August 1. "For the most part, all ripe leaf has been pulled, although there are still fields that remain untouched all over the state," said Vann. "Dry weather continues to plague the vast majority of flue-cured growers, but showers over the past few weeks have made a de- cent crop in places. A little more rain would finish everything very nicely." But there are still problem areas. In Moore County in south central N.C., extremely hot, dry conditions adversely impacted tobaccos. "Lugs on tobacco are scalded, particularly in late- topped fields," said Taylor Williams, extension agent. In the area from Raleigh to Wilson, a large portion of the region is very dry, leading to a general worsen- ing of crop conditions, said Don Nicholson, re- gional agronomist for the state department of agri- culture. "The tobacco crop is deteriorating rapidly in areas that have not received adequate rainfall in several weeks. Lower stalk quality is suffering." In Virginia, there was no significant rain in the last two weeks of July, but the flue-cured crop looked better than average, said Chris Brown, ex- tension tobacco agent in Halifax County. "The yield could be better than average. We had enough rainfall to get it in top, and we can use irrigation if needed" from here on out. In Lunenburg County, in the Southside like Halifax, tobacco agent Lindy Tucker said, "Wa- ter is flying on tobacco" from irrigation rigs. "We could use a little rain at this point. But it's been a good year thus far." Kentucky-Tennessee Dark Types The weather pattern was a little different in the dark tobacco producing areas of Kentucky and Tennessee. There was excess rain in the two weeks ending around July 10, but it turned dry with con- siderable heat and humidity. "We have seen saturated soils, wet feet, and some drowning," said Andy Bailey, extension dark tobacco specialist. "We may have suffered as much as a 10% loss in production so far, but some of it could be recovered." Crops on better drained soils that didn't get too much rain looked good. But heavy winds caused damage in some areas that left stalks crooked. "That may make it difficult to use 'rundown' application of sucker control chemicals," he said. "We might wind up using more Maleic Hydrazide than normal. Some farmers might try to apply conventional chemicals with a backpack but that is very labor intensive." The US Department of Agriculture issued a planting estimate at the end of June. These projec- tions follow, listed by type, state and with a notation of how the projections compare to actual plantings in 2014. They were gathered before the rains in bur- ley states or the heat in flue-cured states. FLUE-CURED: Total US planted acreage is estimated at 206,800 acres, down 16% from 2014. Individual state estimates and change from 2014: On a rare sunny day in June 2015, a burley field in enteral Kentucky shows what rain-induced wilt does to a tobacco plant.

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