08/10/14 — Rain causing issues with tobacco crop

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Rain causing issues with tobacco crop

By Steve Herring
Published in News on August 10, 2014 1:50 AM


There have been scattered reports of drowned tobacco in the county as result of last month's heavy rainfall that dropped anywhere from 5 to nearly 11 inches on areas throughout the county.

The heavy rain also delayed the tobacco harvest by a few days, said Tyler Johnson, Wayne County Extension Service field crop agent.

"Some growers and I looked at some drowned tobacco earlier in the week," he said. "Drowned tobacco was primarily found in areas of the field where water stood for extended period of time and on wetter-natured soil types. The main focus now is tobacco harvest. Rain did not impact other crops as much."

The reports have been "spotty," he said.

"The drowned tobacco I looked at this week was in the southern portion of the county," Johnson said. "However, I have seen drowned tobacco in the northern portion of the county, too. Drowned tobacco is very field specific. It just depends where you go.

"Based on various conversations, tobacco quality of down stalk tobacco seems to be an issue due to tobacco being big in stature and rank in places and also due to rainfall events. The key to having quality tobacco is harvest uniformly mature leaves. That is easier said than done when you get in a real world situation."

Rain totals from across the county last month included:

* Patetown, 10.7

* Hood Swamp, 10.4

* Pikeville, 8.5

* Wayne County Executive Jetport, 7.9

* Fremont, 7.8

* Seven Springs, 7.3

* Cherry Research Farm, 7.3

* Grantham, 6.0

* Smith Chapel, 5.3

* Princeton, 5.2.

The Extension Service is continuing to keep an eye on rain totals, and is encouraging residents to share their data.

"If anyone has any additional rainfall totals, and would like to add it to our monthly report, please do not hesitate to call the office at 919-731-1527 or email me at tyler_whaley@ncsu.edu," he said.