Some Tobacco in Trouble

Wet and cool weather here at the end of the growing season is causing tobacco farmers, sitting on one of the best crops in years, a problem.  Don Nicholson, Region 7 Agronomist with North Carolina Department of Agriculture says producers in the central Piedmont are really struggling:

“Its gone from a marathon to being a sprint here at the end. Its time to get it in the barn, the tobacco is pushing for it.”

And while producers planned their crop to utilize barn space, Nicholson says the weather has caused that plan to go by the wayside:

“The rain we’ve had has taken a crop that was already ready to one that is over ripe in places. We have a lot of growers who are over on the barn space. They had planted different varieties to come off at different times but this year with the conditions it hasn’t worked.”

And diseases are starting to show up, as well:

“A lot of diseases are showing up, brown spot is out. And its deteriorating the leaves. The target spot has been bad in the past but its not a big issue in my region.”

Thinking back to the spring, many producers had to seek out plants to set due to greenhouse issues.  Nicholson is in the end, that should have worked in their favor:

“I think most found plants and had enough to fit the crop they were looking for. It forced them to stretch that transplanting portion out a bit. The conditions this year has really pushed this crop and its pushing growers to get it out of the field.”

Switching to peanuts, Nicholson says there’s a really promising crop out there:

“In most of my region it seems we’ve got a really good crop. I have seen a few growers that have dug some and it looks to be maybe a 2 ton crop or better.”

NCDA Agronomist Don Nicholson.'

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.