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ATTRA Organic Tobacco Production - page 3 / 8





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Cigarettes, pipe and chewing tobacco, export

North and South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Florida


Snuff plug wrappers, export

Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee

Air-cured (includes burley, Maryland, & Green River)

Dark types of chewing tobacco, plug and export; Maryland for cigarettes and pipe and chewing tobacco

Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, Virginia, Missouri

Cigar Fillers


Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, Ohio, Indiana

Cigar Binders


Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Minnesota

Cigar Wrappers


Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Georgia, Florida


Tobacco Classes, Uses, and Producing Regions in the Un Common Uses

ited States before 2003 Principle Production Areas

of five to seven inches. Seedling beds are located on well-drained sites that have been well cleared of weeds and trash. Sloping beds on southern exposure produce the strongest transplants.

The soil is sterilized using chemicals on most conventional farms. Wood fires and steam may be used as alternatives. Soil solarization may be another option, though it is not specifically mentioned in the liter- ature. A good introduction to sterilization is available from the University of Califor- nia.(1) Unless some form of soil sterilization is employed, planting bed locations should be changed each year.

The seedling bed should be manured the previous fall, shallow-tilled, and planted to a cover crop if possible. This cover crop should be incorporated in early spring, well in advance of seeding. The seedling tobacco bed typically receives additional supple- mentary fertilization. Rates vary depending on the type of tobacco being grown. Flue- cured tobacco receives relatively high rates of fertilizer, while fire-cured, burley, dark, air-cured, and shade-grown cigar-wrapper

types receive low rates. Medium rates of fertilizer are provided to other cigar types and to aromatic tobaccos.

Float Bed Transplant Production: An alternative system of seedling production using hydroponics is coming into wider use. Tobacco is seeded into Styrofoam trays with a soil-less potting mix. The trays are then floated on a bed of water. Burley Tobacco: Float Bed ransplant Production, by Stanley R. Hollo- way (3) provides an excellent description of this approach, including budgets.

In conventional float bed systems, sol- uble fertilizers are placed in the water solution for plant feeding. Organic grow- ers might avoid the use of salt-based fer- tilizers through the use of soluble fish and seaweed products, and other materials suitable for organic hydroponics. Suppliers of liquid organic fertilizers often are found in the periodical The Growing Edge (4), which caters to hydroponic producers. For further information on liquid fertilizers and systems, see the ATTRA publication Green- house and Hydroponic Vegetable Production Resources on the Internet (Web only).

Sourcing tobacco seed

Contract producers customarily use seed supplied by the organization for which they are growing. Sources such as Workman Tobacco Seed Co. are now online (www.workmantobacco.com/Burley_Varieties_if.htm). Home growers may find it difficult to obtain seed, except through the network of other growers. For heirloom varieties, the Seed Savers Exchange 2008 Yearbook lists 13 types.(2)



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