As the 2012 tobacco crop began its trip to market in earnest during August, growers were reminded of the benefits of picking the right variety for their conditions.

Two fairly new varieties are dominating their respective types. NC 196 (flue-cured) and KT 209 (burley) have become just about the most popular varieties in just a few years. Both produce good yield and quality. In addition, both feature very good black-shank resistance.

Their widespread adoption indicates growers believe that controlling black shank is a key factor in a good harvest and cure.

One who thinks that way is Steve Nelms of Louisburg, N.C. He planted his whole crop in NC 196.

“It is medium in black-shank resistance, and it did very well for us last year,” he said. On the one farm where he knows he has black shank, he also uses Ridomil to control the disease.

Nelms irrigates most of his tobacco, but he has one farm he can't irrigate. There may be a yield consequence from growing dryland this season, but Nelms thought there might be one benefit. “That un-irrigated tobacco will 'wait' for us at the end of the season, giving us further flexibility in harvesting late,” he said.