Some manufacturers can expect a “fair crop at best”
Tobacco throughout the state are going to end, wet start as rains continued last week and usually dry weather crop is trying to cope with excessive rainfall.
Some isolated areas in the state of Kentucky was at least 7 inches of rain in five days, according to data from the Kentucky Mesonet weather and climate data systems, adding to the already rough start to the season.
“As for the tobacco crop, it was a little tough start, a lot of wet weather delayed planting and I’m still not sure if we are completely done with the planting yet,” said Bob Pierce, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture extension tobacco specialist. “I’ve heard stories of several manufacturers who are still trying to get crops in the ground because of the amount of rain that we have had.”
Pierce added that the crops that were planted, factory conditions differ by region.
“Overall, I would say that most of the crops are in satisfactory condition. Precipitation, we had simply not good for tobacco,” he said. “It’s really rather have a dry start, so the root system is not very well developed on this culture and we see a lot of nutrient deficiencies that we would not normally see.”
Pearce said that as soon as the rains stop and if it starts to dry periods historically tobacco will suffer because of that shallow root system.
“History tells us, and we hope that there will be a wet start like this, it will be a fair crop of the best,” he said. “In some areas during the last week was almost 4 inches of rain the night a week ago, and we had only a few inches of rain over the last few days.”
Pearce noted that some problems are starting to show, in terms of culture, which actually drowned.
“We are eventually losing some of these cultures. We will not know the full extent as before, probably at the end of this week, when we see how the crops to recover from this latest round of rain,” he said.
For those who still have tobacco plants to determine the cutoff date is rapidly approaching, if not passed. Pierce said the second week of July is quite marginal for most crops tobacco crop, because there will come in mid to late October.
“By the middle of July, there’s just no point in really thinking about (landing) after this point,” he said.
Pearce said he had seen tobacco is planted late, and sometimes descent crop can be obtained, but usually it would be a threat to crops.
“You run the risk, if we have an early frost, it will actually get damaged by frost in the area and even without an early frost, this time collected and treated in a less than ideal time of year, so the quality, even if we get the pounds, is not really where we wanted it to be, “he said.
At this time last year, concern about tobacco, as well as all the rest was due to the extremely high temperatures encountered in one of the worst seasons of drought ever.
Tobacco however, did turn around timely rains in July last year, demonstrating how plants thrive in almost drier conditions.
“This year is just the opposite, and no matter what happens from this point of view, we know from past seasons that this culture has been reduced to a certain extent, from which he will not be able to fully recover,” said Pierce. “There is no doubt that. We have seen time after time, year after year, that the wet weather tobacco crop will be limited.”
Pierce also said that he still may be some good harvest there, but usually in wet years like this especially if it continues to be quite humid, the producers will put the harvest in the barn thinking that they do not have really good as long as it cures and frustrating with a loss of several hundred pounds per acre due to the thin leaves.
“Even if the plant may have grown larger and have a large surface area of the leaves, the leaves tend to be thinner and weigh as good as they would have in the drier season,” he said.
The cultivation of tobacco, probably planted about 5 percent this year, more than in 2012, varies from region to region. Pierce said it was at least their intentions.
“If this weather changed some of those plans, that I don’t have a good feel for right now. But people potentially may have been (plants) they planned to put it out, but could not because of the weather conditions,” he said. “It’s a culture that can fool you, but overlooking the start we had, I’m not very optimistic on it turning around.”
The UK Agricultural Weather Center reported that rainfall in July, usually 4.5 inches. Last week, the total average rainfall was 3.5 inches, making it the wettest week in the country since mid-April 2011?
Temperature was below normal at 8 degrees, as well. The three-month forecast is calling for above normal precipitation for Kentucky and most off the Southeast.