"Flue-cured growers now can get high yields, black shank and tobacco mosaic virus resistance from a new tobacco hybrid, NC297," says veteran seedsman and Gold Leaf Seed Company President Marion Hawkins.

The new hybrid, bred by North Carolina State University Plant Breeder, Earl Wernsman, is being produced, conditioned and exclusively marketed by Gold Leaf Seed Company for the 2001 tobacco season.

Wernsman, who also bred the popular NC71 and NC72 hybrids, says the new NC297 is very similar, but also is resistant to tobacco mosaic virus (TMV). In addition to providing very high black shank resistance, the new variety also has low to moderate resistance to Granville wilt.

NC297 compared very favorably with Gold Leaf's other leading varieties - K326, K346, NC71 and NC72 - in 1999 North Carolina State variety trials. NC297 had an average yield of 3,299 pounds per acre and the highest grade index with a 76.

Growers fortunate to have tried NC297 on a limited basis in 2000 report that the new hybrid showed very high black shank resistance and gave them protection against the increasingly problematic tobacco mosaic virus. Several growers, who were able to compare NC297 directly in the field against NC71 and NC72 also noted that the new hybrid matured, cured and yielded right along with the two established hybrids.

Hawkins reports that NC297, like all other Gold Leaf `certified' varieties, will be available in quality, high-germinating pellets for use in greenhouses or in conventional plant beds for the coming tobacco season.

Diazinon use for ag supported Diazinon, a leading insecticide in U.S. agriculture for more than 40 years, will continue to be available to U.S. farmers under an agreement reached between Makhteshim-Agan of North America, Inc. (MANA), Syngenta Crop Protection USA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Under this agreement, major agricultural uses will be retained, while indoor and homeowner uses will be eliminated or phased out over the next several years. Indoor uses will be canceled by March 2001. Lawn, garden and turf uses will no longer be allowed after December 2004.

About 40 crops will continue to be supported, including all trees and vines and some vegetables. In addition the USDA IR4 will continue to work with MANA to support additional minor uses of diazinon.

"Makhteshim Agan is committed to the diazinon business in the U.S. and throughout the world," said Musa Givon, President of MANA. "We see many years of life left in diazinon in the agricultural markets because it is a valuable, effective and safe product. We have strong commitments to diazinon, including recent and substantial investment in production facilities. We will also continue to generate health and safety data to support diazinon and insure that it continues to meet the standards of the FQPA."