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Tobacco Crop Seeing Fungal and Pest Issues

Tobacco bud worm has begun menacing central North Carolina’s tobacco crop, and Bryant Spivey, Johnston County Extension Agent has this advice:

“We have a fairly strong flight of bud worm moths and they are laying eggs in tobacco. Some of our more advanced tobacco that is beginning to flower, we don’t worry about bud worms because once we top tobacco its not a concern. But it’s the later portion of the crop that growers need to concentrate on.”

Spivey says with the crop at uneven stages, not all producers need to be scouting:

“We do have some high numbers and fields that are close to 100% infested. A lot that are 50-60% with bud worms, especially those later planted fields.”

There’s another fungal issue that has arisen says Spivey:

“People also need to watch out for and take action on target spot. Especially in the fields where they are well watered. Growers need to be putting on preventative fungicide to keep it under control.”

At transplanting time, there looked to be a shortage of plants, and Spivey says it looks like the bases were covered at the last minute:

“It looked like the plant supply was going to be very short, but in the later part of the transplanting window we were able to find the plants and get the acres in.”

Having driven through tobacco country recently, I noticed that the crop looked really good, but it was all over the map as far as size and growth stage.  Spivey says it’s just one of those years:

“It does look good, our moisture is a little variable in the county but most have good rainfall and we have a good chance to have some great yields of quality tobacco.”

Bryant Spivey, NC State Extension Director for Johnston County.'

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.