• Almost all areas in the South where tobacco is grown received extended periods of abnormal heat during the 2010 growing season, much of it occurring from mid-June to the end of July.
• If farmers can get it harvested, this should be an average tobacco crop or maybe a little better
• Virginia tobacco growers are looking at a mid-October finish for most, and some will take longer than that.
Tennessee burley crop
The Tennessee burley crop appeared slightly below average, he said, but could get better with more rain.
In August, USDA projected production of burley at 189 million pounds, down 12 percent from 2009.
Yields will definitely be down on dark tobacco in Kentucky and Tennessee because of late planting, heat and drought, said Kenneth Smith, general manager of the Eastern Dark Fired Tobacco Growers Association, Springfield, Tenn.
Substantially all dark plantings are behind, both air-cured and fire-cured. Smith said. He feared some of it might not be harvested by mid-October, when frost frequently occurs.
Despite a reduced yield, Smith said Kentucky-Tennessee dark growers will produce enough leaf to deliver their contracts, since they normally planted more acreage than needed. But he definitely doesn't expect any over-production.
Virginia’s dark fire-cured tobacco had excellent potential before Labor Day, said Reed. About half was expected to be harvested by Sept. 3, and harvest should be completed before frost.
The August USDA crop report pegged fire-cured production at 47.5 million pounds, down 10 percent, and dark air-cured at 16.6 million pounds, down 2.1 percent.
In other tobacco news:
• Another tobacco grower cooperative besides the Eastern Dark Fire-Cured co-op will be located in Springfield, Tenn. Burley Stabilization Corporation is relocating its headquarters to Springfield from Knoxville, Tenn. The Knoxville office will close, but a field office will be built in Greeneville, Tenn., on the grounds of the receiving station the co-op owns there. The co-op owns a receiving station in Springfield, also, and its growers will be able to deliver at those two locations and at a delivery station in Asheville, N.C.