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• Tobacco farmers in most areas where tobacco is grown in the United States were hoping for a hot spell in mid-May after experiencing cool spring temperatures that resulted in delays in planting and in-field development.
IN THE MOUNTAINS of western North Carolina, a farmer and his neighbor survey a good young stand of burley. This field is near Boone.
Tobacco farmers in most of the areas where tobacco is grown in the United States were hoping for a hot spell in mid-May after experiencing cool spring temperatures that resulted in delays in planting and in-field development.
“We have had cool weather this spring, and it has set the crop back a bit,” said a leaf dealer in Wilson, N.C., in early May. “We need to get some warm nights to get the crop to take off and start performing like it should.”
A flue-cured grower near Raleigh, N.C., noted that the cold had forced him out of his normal planting schedule. “I don’t like to set tobacco in May, but I am having to this year,” said Marty Adams of Knightdale.
In Tennessee and Kentucky, planting of fire-cured and dark air-cured tobacco had barely begun. "It usually starts up around May 1, but because of the wet weather, full-scale planting didn't get going until (around May 10)," said Andy Bailey, Extension dark tobacco specialist.
In Kentucky, Extension tobacco specialist Bob Pearce said some limited planting of the state’s burley crop had been completed by May 6. "Normally we would be a little farther along. I would say most of the crop is a week or 10 days behind."
In Virginia, USDA reported that transplanting through May 13 had reached 40 percent for flue-cured, 25 percent for fire-cured and 10 percent for burley. Those figures were close to average, but way behind 2012.
But one state was running ahead of schedule. J. Michael Moore, Georgia/Florida Extension tobacco specialist, said planting was complete in Florida at the beginning of May. Some of the crop had been set out around the middle of March, earlier than normal. "So there is actually some tobacco in Florida that is ready for layby already," said Moore on May 2.
In Georgia, plantedacreage increased a little. "We expected a 10 percent to 15 percent increase, and that appears to be about right," said Moore.