background_fid.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Wet Hot Summer Could Lead to Troublesome Tobacco Season

tobacco.jpg
Todd Shoemake / Flickr (Creative Commons License)
/

Heavy rains throughout July have hit Kentucky tobacco hard this season.

University of Kentucky's Andy Bailey says the Kentucky Tennessee Dark Fired commodity holds a unique position in the world, responsible for nearly 90 percent of overall production and this month’s rains could affect growers yields drastically.

“We've got areas depending on the soil advantage class and how much rain it had gotten that losses may be from 5 to 10 percent up to 50 to 60 percent," said Bailey.

The kind of rain affecting this year’s crop is unlike anything Bailey has seen in the last 14 years.

“Tobacco is a more tropical crop that doesn't like saturated soil conditions," said Bailey. "So we've got areas depending on the soil advantage class and how much rain it had gotten that losses may be from 5 to 10 percent up to 50 to 60 percent."

On average Bailey estimates an overall production loss of 20 percent for Western Kentucky.

While burley tobacco was affected most by the rains, the variable weather conditions could mean increased risk for yet another obstacle: Angular Leaf Spot, a bacterial disease that tends to appear after tobacco has been damaged due to extreme weather conditions.

Bailey suggests growers apply streptomycin, an antibiotic, at least a couple days before incoming weather to protect any further loss.

Related Content