Carolina Tobacco Season Nearly a Wrap

The 2013 tobacco season is all but in the books, and Don Nicholson, Region 7 Agronomist for NCDA, covering Harnett, Wilson, Wake, Johnston and Wayne Counties says like most row crops in the state, it wasn’t without its challenges:

“We’ve had rain the same as everyone across the state. In my region the sandy soils we had a lot of leaching and we lost some tobacco to drowning. Most of the growers made a good effort to re-fertilize their crops. Many ended up with a decent crop and its cured well and been doing ok. We would have liked to have more tobacco to sell but it wasn’t in the cards this year.”

Nicholson says the yield loss due to wet weather for the tobacco crop is significant:

“I think we will probably lose anywhere from 205-30% of our yield potential. A lot was lost due to the tremendous amount of rain and things like target spot. Leaf loss and bottom primers were really affected.”

And unlike some of the issues with other row crops, shallow roots combined with dry weather hasn’t been so extreme that the crop suffered explains Nicholson:

“The nice thing about a tobacco crop is it has the ability with dry weather to regrow roots. In a lot of cases it was able to reach down and find fertilization. Most of the growers were patient and let it mature out before they started harvesting and that is why our crop turned out as well as it did.”

But with a 25 or more percent in yield reduction, contracts are going to be short says Nicholson, but that may actually work in grower’s favor:

“I hope it gives the growers some stability, having the ability to grow a crop that is very in demand. Our tobacco growers here in NC are the best on the planet.”

But, all in all, Nicholson says growers are just ready to get this year into the books:

“I think growers that are committed to staying in the tobacco business are ready to see that come and make plans for 2014. Its been a long challenging year and they are hoping for a better one next year.”

NCDA’s Region 7 Agronomist, Don Nicholson. 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.