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Tobacco transplanting has been delayed in parts of the Southeast due to extreme weather conditions, however, most growers are optimistic that the plants will catch up once in the field.
WORKERS LOAD TRAYS on a transplanter on a flue-cured farm near Vass, N.C., in early May.
Deep South transplanting
Transplanting in Georgia will likely continue until close to May 15, said J. Michael Moore, Georgia/Florida Extension tobacco specialist. "In addition to the cultivation and fertilization which is needed now, growers must manage weed and insect pests which may occur in the early production season," he said.
Farmers ran into one problem this plant-producing season. Sometimes they had to clip and hold plants they had already treated with Actigard to reduce TSWV.
"Treated plants are best used seven days after treatment," said Moore. "Holding Actigard-activated plants in the greenhouse longer than seven days begins to eat into the window of control expected once they are taken to the field."
Transplanting was complete in Florida by May 1, and some farmers are well along in cultivation, Moore said.
In other tobacco news:
A popular fertilizer product is coming back on the market after a long absence. SQM is reintroducing what was formerly called Soda Potash 15-0-14, which hadn't been marketed since 2003. It will now be called Sodium Potassium Nitrate and will now have an analysis of 15-0-15. As in the past, its nitrogen will be 100-percent nitrate nitrogen, and its potassium is chlorine free. Supplies for this season will be limited, said a representative of the manufacturer, Yara North America.
Liquid nicotine for e-cigarettes is now being produced on a commercial scale in the United States by USA Liquid Nicotine, which has extraction facilities in Albany, Ga., and buying and marketing offices in Harrisburg, Ky.
Managing partner Brian Furnish, a farmer who served several years as general manager of Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association in Lexington, Ky., says the company is selling pure liquid nicotine extracted from burley acquired in Kentucky.
So far, Furnish says they have only used air-cured leaf, mainly burley, because of its higher nicotine content relative to flue-cured and other types.
Individual leaves are stripped from cured stalks and collected for the extraction process. Eventually, a production scheme will be worked out for e-cig tobacco. Furnish said it will involve changes in variety choice, fertility programs and timing of topping and suckering.