Johnston County Extension Agent, Tim Britton provides these insights to post-Irene's tobacco crop:
We basically have two different types of tobacco in the field in Johnston County right now.
1. Mature tobacco (harvested 1-3 times prior to the hurricane). This tobacco was not blown down completely in most fields. In many cases this tobacco can be harvested and may even be harvestable by machine. However, since this tobacco was more mature, the wind damage and rain will likely result in the crop ripening much quicker than it would have. This tobacco will not likely hold as long as we needed in order to harvest the entire crop. For the fields like this that I have seen, I am estimating that the tobacco will hold for at least two weeks. Quality will be reduced some, but this is the highest value tobacco that we have in the field right now. This is the portion of the crop that I would concentrate on first. I think that much of it can be harvested and cured.
Much of this tobacco is bruised and battered from the beating that it took in the wind. This bruising will cause the release of ethylene, a naturally occurring ripening agent. So, this tobacco may react like it has been sprayed with a slow-release form of Prep. I do not think that this tobacco will decline as quickly as the tobacco after Hurricane Fran. That tobacco only lasted 5-7 days. I have seen some mature tobacco that I think will last 3-4 weeks and other fields that may not last but two weeks. It just depends on the amount of wind and bruising and the maturity of the crop. This tobacco should be harvested as it ripens as quickly as possible.
The bruising will likely result in more issues with pathogens like barn rot during curing. So, I would take extra care to make sure that the tobacco is dry going into the barn. It also needs to be ripe, because you may not be able to yellow as long as you would on normal leaves.
2. Late tobacco (harvested 0-1 times prior to the hurricane). This tobacco is blown down badly. Most of it is not bruised and beaten all that badly. Since this tobacco was immature, I feel like it will hold longer in the field. Since it is not bruised as badly I also feel like it will not ripen all that quickly. If it can be stood up (big if), I think this type of tobacco could hold for 3-5 weeks. I also think that this tobacco could be of decent quality if it can be stood up and harvested on a "normal" schedule.
For these fields, sucker control may be an issue and growers may be forced to spray suckercides that they had not planned to use. If 3 quarts of flumetralin had been applied, I would not assume that there is a need to go and spray more sucker control materials at this time. If flumetralin had not been applied or if only 2 quarts were applied, MH application is probably advisable. I would still recommend coarse sprays for MH application as with a TG nozzle and low pressure. A broadcast boom may be advisable over a 3-nozzle boom but I would still use coarse spray nozzles.