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Carolina Tobacco Crop Off to a Good Start

Loren Fisher, NC State Extension Tobacco Specialist says that this year’s tobacco crop in North Carolina has been in the ground in some places up to eight weeks. He says that growers are pleased thus far:

“I think over all we have gotten off to a very good start. It has been a little cooler at night than we would like, and some places with a little more rain than they would want to see, but given those factors the crop still looks very good. Most growers are very happy.”

Fisher explains that thus far questions from growers have been mostly rainfall related:

“A lot of the questions are related to needing to make adjustments to the fertilizer program based on the rainfall, do they need to apply more nitrogen, more potassium. They have asked how best to manage the crop given the amount of rainfall.”

And thus far, the season is disease free for the most part, according to Fisher:

"We started this season with a brown spot coming in, that is associated with excess soil moisture. At this point it is not no wide spread.”

Weather forecasts show that the region is headed into a dryer, warmer period, and Fisher says what few problems the crop is having right now may be corrected by changes in the weather:

“Growers need the weather to turn to a more normal pattern. An average of maybe an inch of rain a week, with warmer days and nights.”

There are also few insect problems according to Fisher:

“There are some worms that have been around for weeks now, but they are at normal levels.”

While corn went in about two weeks early due to the mild winter and early spring warm temperatures, Fisher says that tobacco was transplanted right on time:

“Folks who were looking to plant early were faced with a few nights in the 30’s, so they ended up going about right on about the normal transplant day around April 15. Given the rainfall we have had, the crop in eastern Carolina is about ten days ahead.”

As far as planted acreage in North Carolina, Fisher says it’s looking like an average year:

“Sometimes it’s hard to tell. My guess is that in NC we are about 175,000 acres, about the same as last year.”

Loren Fisher, NC State Tobacco Specialist on Today’s Topic. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.