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The largest local tobacco farmer, who usually raises about 200 acres, is rushing to beat freezing temps. It seems to be an annual thing each year with droughts and extreme heat delaying the maturing of the crop. Mrs Jim and I ran the race many seasons, but farmed on a much smaller scale.

Tobacco on red land was probably average this year, but overall, the crop seems to be a good one. Tobacco will stand lots of climate adversity and produce if one can keep the insects from destroying it. About 2/3 of its crop is still on these tobacco plants. One of his workers told me yesterday that if things go well, they will finish late next week. They have about 40 acres left to prime.

This tobacco is on an old dairy farm, about a mile from our new farm, and had not been in tobacco for 2 or 3 years. It was planted a bit late, about the first of June, for this area, but it is the best single farm that the grower has. The gray, loamy soil weathered the season well.

This grower has also invested heavily over the years in modern handling equipment that enables him to harvest and cure a larger volume of tobacco with less labor. He does have a mechanical harvester, but has manually primed much of his crop because of wet field conditions.

The large trailers have conveyor belts in their beds. It takes 3 trailer loads to fill one barn. They are transported to the farm, the tobacco is fed on to another conveyor system that evenly loads the curing boxes by weight. The boxes are loaded into the bulk barns for curing.










 

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That looks strange to us Burley growing guys to see those naked tobacco stalks sticking up out of the ground. ;)
 

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Definitely different than how we raised Burley. My father in law would use the 451 new holland sickle mower to cut it down. Then all we would do is pick it and spike it eliminating someone having to cut it.
 

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Thanks Jim for aharing that Jim. Use to see that a lot
when we traveled through the Carolinas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
johndeerefan said:
Definitely different than how we raised Burley. My father in law would use the 451 new holland sickle mower to cut it down. Then all we would do is pick it and spike it eliminating someone having to cut it.
Did the plants tangle when to falling to the ground, and was there increased leaf breakage by this method? There is a mechanical burley cutter, and I believe it is made in Europe.
 

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The plants actually laid down just like if you were cutting hay. It was actually pretty remarkable how well it actually worked. There was minimum leaf breakage or damage. The cost savings in labor more than paid for the damaged ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I would think that yall only "mowed" a small section at a time in case weather or some other problem could possibly prevent the baccer from being put on sticks :?:
 

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Thanks for the post Jim I enjoyed reading it and looking at the pictures. Flu cured seems to have a more narrow leaf than burly but looks like it has a thick leaf with a big stem and feeders and should weigh good. Just wondering whats considered a good weight for a acre of the flu cured tobacco. Like Big Dave said that field sure does look strange to me when you get done. Its interesting to see how things are done differently in other parts of the country.
 

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the only time ive ever seen tobacoo grown is from the pic's yall put up here. around my neck of the woods its always hay, corn and soybeans with the suprize field of oats and wheat along the roadside.id love to try to grow tobacoo but id probly kill the plants :lol: thanks Jim for postin the pic's
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Gordon, in a REALLY good year, it is not impossible to grow 2600 to 2800 lbs per acre. The statewide average is usually in the 2100 to 2300 lbs range. The top third of the plant produces about as much weight as the lower 2/3. When I was young, 1500lbs per acre was a good yield. It was very common to finish harvesting by Labor Day or shortly after. Improved varieties, fertilization rates, and improved growing practices have increased production and made the season longer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Wizz, I believe there is or has been in the past some cigar tobacco grown up your way. Some types are grown in Canada, but I know nothing about what is produced there. I'd say If you can grow maters, you can grow flue-cured baccer. It might not grow quite the same as here, but it would be a conversation piece for sure!
 

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Jim in NC said:
I would think that yall only "mowed" a small section at a time in case weather or some other problem could possibly prevent the baccer from being put on sticks :?:
Your right. We only cut the 2 outside rows on each side of the field at a time. Our rows were about as wide as your photos, so we couldn't get the tractor down between them without destroying some and didn't want to give up land use for it. So we cut down the outside rows, stop and pick them up, and then cut 2 more
 

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I too thank you for posting the pics, always facinates me too seeing a different harvest..
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Glad to share these pics with yall. I have spent many long hours priming tobacco. Our trailers were not this big :!: :shock: It is no longer profitable on a small scale like in the past. I still miss it even though most folks I know will say I'm crazy when I say that. I have never been afraid of hard work if I enjoy it and it is rewarding in some way. Different strokes I guess.
 

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Tobacco used to be grown farther north, much of NY was tobacco many years ago.
The newer hybrids needed longer growing seasons and grapes and grain and dairys replaced tobacco.
I moved to NY as a kid for a few years and noticed tobacco barns and no tobacco, talked to a few old timers. Must have been a burley type tobacco judging from the barns.
 
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