Frost in the Forecast, Tobacco Still in the Field

With the region’s first freeze forecast for the weekend, many tobacco growers are scrambling to finish harvest.  Don Nicholson, Region 7 agronomist for NCDA:

“There is still some out there, a handful of growers. They are hoping that the forecast is wrong. They are spraying old remedies like sugar water to avert frost. Anything to try to save a little more. Another week of above freezing temperature and they will be about done.”

Nicholson says it’s the same problem we’ve been talking about for weeks now…tobacco coming off faster than barn space is available:

“It’s a good problem to have, they are still putting in a good high quality crop. They are filling barns quickly. There will be quite a bit of tobacco left out in the fields.”

As far as what’s left in the field going into the weekend, Nicholson says about 100 barns worth of tobacco left in the fields in his region.

As far as harvesting tobacco against a frost, Nicholson says this is unusual:

“This is new territory for a lot of people. We really never got past September.”

Nicholson says cotton and peanuts both have benefitted from two weeks of warm, dry weather:

“Those picking cotton and peanuts have seen some good crops, even above average. There are still peanuts that need dug and I’ve been encouraging folks to get them out. Its been a warm week and good for drying.

And a few combines are rolling in the soybeans, too:

“The beans are looking really good this year, and we had one grower in my region top 80 bushels this year.”

Don Nicholson, Region 7 agronomist for North Carolina Department of Agriculture.



A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.