Central Kentucky tobacco growers this summer are feeling the impact of the unseasonably cool weather. Growers are also feeling the effect of decisions made in the board room.
Fayette County Extension Agent for Agriculture Nick Carter says warm weather is best for growing burley in July. But Carter doesn't expect this week's cool snap to slow growth too much. He adds, consistent rainfall across the farmland has been hard to find. "The thing that's really unique about this year, it's so spotty. I mean, you may drive a mile down the road, have good rain. Your farm may not have had any rain. That's the variability that we're seeing," said Carter.
Carter says tobacco farmers' ears may perk up following the news of a possible merger of two big cigarette giants, Reynolds and Lorillard. The ag agent says any kind of restructuring is always of concern to growers because it can impact company buying decisions. "One of the things I think we can do the worst is over produce. If we produce too much and we get back in the situation to where the companies have more tobacco than they need then that's gonna affect us on what they pay the farmer and how much they're gonna be willing to contract for the upcoming year," explained Carter.
Carter says this summer's tobacco crop in Fayette County is rounding into shape. He says consistent rain is still needed, but there have been no reports of the dreaded blue mold plant disease.