KT 209 and the other high-yielding burley varieties developed by the Kentucky-Tennessee breeding program have been a great help to burley growers.

But the size of these varieties can cause a management problem, said grower David Miller of Abingdon, Va.

“The 'KT' varieties are huge, and our labor has trouble getting it in the barn,” he said.

He has addressed the problem by re-adopting a traditional practice he had gotten away from — wilting his burley after cutting it to lower moisture weight.

“We used to just cut it and put it straight into the barn,” Miller said. “Now we try to leave it out in the field for three to four days to reduce the weight and get the sunburn out.”

Unfortunately for dark air-cured and fire-cured growers, no dark variety has black shank resistance comparable to the most resistant burley and flue-cured varieties.

“But with levels of race one black shank increasing throughout the dark tobacco region, varieties with at least some resistance to race one should be considered for use where black shank is known to exist,” said Andy Bailey, Kentucky-Tennessee Extension tobacco specialist.

“Fungicides are recommended with any dark tobacco variety transplanted into fields with a history of black shank.”

If you must grow tobacco  in fields with significant black shank levels, consider growing a resistant burley variety instead of dark,  he said.

Disease note:Blue mold appeared at one location in Connecticut and another in Massachusetts in July. Both outbreaks were on shade-grown tobacco in the Connecticut River Valley.

Earlier, there were several incidences near Lancaster, Pa. Spraying took place at all locations. Through Aug. 1, no economic loss had occurred at any of the locations. 

chrisbickers@gmail.com