The first hybrid dark-fired tobacco variety will be featured at the University of Tennessee Tobacco Field Day on Thursday, July 6, from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CDT. The event will be held at the UT Highland Rim Research and Education Center (HRREC) in Springfield.

New burley varieties with improved black shank and blue mold tolerance will also be highlighted. Despite improved varieties, black shank continues to take its toll on tobacco yields. Barry Sims, HRREC director, says visitors to the field day can learn how to use a fungicide to its best advantage to control black shank as well as hear the latest on chemical control of fungal leaf spots.

Sims also says the field day will feature current HRREC research related to efficient use of fertilizer nitrogen and production practices as they relate to the TSNA content of cured leaf. “Higher nitrogen prices and lower prices for burley tobacco have increased the importance of efficient use of fertilizer nitrogen,” Sims said. “The tobacco industry is also very concerned about TSNA content, which is partly related to nitrogen fertilization.”

Double barn curing of dark-fired tobacco is the practice of curing two crops of tobacco in the same barn and season. Although this practice helps to maximize efficiency of barn space, increased management is required to ensure that timely operations occur on separate crops in the field and in the barn. Evaluations of takedown and storage methods in a typical double barn curing system will be discussed during the field day.

“Undoubtedly, we're living in the ‘information age’,” says Sims. “But ironically, the new post-buyout market for tobacco is operating in many respects with less information than ever before. Our luncheon speaker is Kelly Tiller, an analyst with the UT Agricultural Policy Analysis Center. She will discuss ways we can improve our collection and use of information.”

Other topics to be discussed will include the latest techniques in tobacco sucker control and irrigation systems.

The field day site is located approximately 25 miles north of Nashville on Oakland Road in Springfield. The Highland Rim Research and Education Center is one of 10 branch research units in the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station system.

Directions to the Center and other information about its operations are available online at http://highlandrim.tennessee.edu/index.htm.

For more information regarding the field day, contact your county UT Extension office or the Highland Rim Research and Education Center at (615) 382-3130.