Tobacco Notes July 2020

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Our tobacco crop is coming along. Some fields are about 3 weeks out from first priming. Topping and suckering is underway in some parts of the county. I have seen a few hornworms and flea beetles. Neither are very heavy as of this week, just something to keep in mind when you spray sucker control.

I have seen a fair amount of weather fleck this year and target spot on the lower leaves. Target spot is responding well to quadris this year and doesn’t seem to be spreading.

I suggest delugging this year, due to disease ridden lower leaves. I will conclude this message with a quote from an email from Dr. Matthew Vann:


My final suggestion is focused on the practice of de-lugging (removing and discarding the lower leaves on each plant). We know that de-lugging has a significant impact on our yield and value parameters, although I anticipate that many will consider this practice because of a thin-bodied and (probably) disease infested crop of lugs. This is unfortunate because there actually seemed to be a slight increase in demand for good quality lugs this season. I’m not convinced that we’re going to be able to deliver those across the board. I anticipate our farmers are going to press us on de-lugging information, so let’s be ready to send what is needed. My rules of thumb are as follows and are based on field trials that were concluded in 2017:

-the removal of four leaves is reasonable, eight leaves is too many

-the addition of 10-15 lbs of N and the removal of four leaves has a higher cured leaf yield than not adding back any nitrogen and removing four leaves.

-our data indicate that de-lugging should happen around topping (-/+10 days), but I’d say that getting it done as early as possible is ideal since this crop is going to ripen fast and needs some fertilizer.

For information about USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program for Farmers and Ranchers, contact Mitchell Williams at 919-775-5624.

Mitchell Williams is the Agriculture Agent for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Lee County.