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How many plants

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TheNewestOldtimer

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Heavy rain will drown tobacco if it hits and stays around for a few days .
If you have a lot of wind then that may be your biggest concern . Tobacco blows down easy , I do mean easy . A blow down field is nearly impossible to harvest and it will rot in a matter of a few days laying in a tangled mess

Sometimes we have rain that last several days, but not too often. Also my soil tends to drain quickly. Some fields have a lot of clay, but mine have more sand, and organic mater.

Our average rain fall is 54-56" per year. Is this too much?
 

TheNewestOldtimer

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Urea is bad for most plants while they are still seedlings. And bad all the time for hydroponics. Basically as I understand urea you need microbes to break it down into ammonia, and you need microbes to make your NO3-. You also lose a lot of your rated nitrate value to the atmosphere. There are several ways to prevent the plants not liking it. Do as we do with anhydrous NH3, and prep you site prior to planting. We usually do this in the fall, or mid winter. This gives the microbes time to break everything down to NO3-.

So I am not worried about urea, because for the most part we don't use that here, and when we do it is in the fall, or mid winter.

Most farmers around here use AN,NH3,and UAN, but i don't know anyone who uses straight urea.

By the time I transplant they should be strong enough to handle the urea anyways.
 

TheNewestOldtimer

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Here in the Mississippi delta we get about 25% more kWh/m^2/Day then Kentucky. That mean things grow faster, and we can fertilize more. Also thicker and heavier leaves.
 

TheNewestOldtimer

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I tried to search for the answer to this question, but could not find it.

I have 228 expected frost free days, and most tobacco strains are mature by 65 days. so that would give me about 3.5 theoretical crops per season, but is this possible?

I don't have to worry about soil depletion, because I can fertilize it. The local Ag giant sells micronutrients too.

I have never heard of anybody growing more then one crop, but could I get in 2? Or should I wait longer to plant to maximize the amount of light the plants get exposed to?
 

Knucklehead

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Boboro (Mississippi) has gotten one main crop and two sucker crops in a season. Cut the stalk and let the bottom sucker grow into another plant. Or you should have time to start seed at the proper time and replant a second crop as the sucker crop is normally smaller than a first grow. Days to Maturity is measured from transplant to 50% of the plants having at least one flower. That is usually when the plant is topped and allowed to ripen further before harvesting. Cigar variety leaf is primed when mature rather than when ripe. Cigarette varieties are harvested when ripe, Virginias one leaf at a time (priming), Burleys are usually whole stalk harvested.

This will tell you the average first and last frost dates for your area. Plug in your zip code: http://wholeleaftobaccollc.com/forum/showthread.php?781-Last-and-First-Frost-Date-When-Is-It-Really

This thread discusses leaf ripeness: http://wholeleaftobaccollc.com/forum/showthread.php?174-Ripe-tobacco-leaf

Again, the problem with growing two or three crops (weather permitting) is not how many you can grow or if you have the weather suitable for growing, but how many you can cure and store. By harvesting a second or third crop at the very end of the season, you will probably run out of curing weather. If fall weather in your area is really dry, your leaf could dry green and be garden mulch. If you have really humid fall weather with alot of rain, your crop could mold and be garden mulch. If the weather is cold, it won't yellow or cure properly. If it freezes while the leaf is still green, the leaf turns to slush and is garden mulch.
 

leverhead

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I tried to search for the answer to this question, but could not find it.

I have 228 expected frost free days, and most tobacco strains are mature by 65 days. so that would give me about 3.5 theoretical crops per season, but is this possible?

I don't have to worry about soil depletion, because I can fertilize it. The local Ag giant sells micronutrients too.

I have never heard of anybody growing more then one crop, but could I get in 2? Or should I wait longer to plant to maximize the amount of light the plants get exposed to?

Days to maturity, is when 50% of the plants have at least one flower. Harvest is several weeks beyond that point.
 

POGreen

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A friend of mine had 2 crops this season , growing a Virgina strain of Alida and some Shamans Rustica he got from me.

The biggest problem about it for him was to accomodate all the plants + leaves in the attic where he cures/dries his 'bacca.....

He chopped parts of his crop down in the end of July or beginning of August and from what was left of the stalk he had tillers comin' out from them.

We just had a fantastic summer over here and not to mention the fall .......and that also had a positive effect on his plants I guess.
 

TheNewestOldtimer

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Days to maturity, is when 50% of the plants have at least one flower. Harvest is several weeks beyond that point.

Okay, Thanks.

So I guess that I could grow either two crops of early maturing tobacco, or one crop of tobacco and wheat or barley.

@knucklehead

Our fall tend to be very humid in comparison to other places. We usually have 50-65%, and on rainy days it will go up to 80-85%. 50-60% is too low to cure, but that can easily be fixed, and the days above 80 should not be often enough to mater much. I could be wrong though.
 

BigBonner

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Heat here gets up into the 90's and humidity from 35 late fall to 90 in the summer .
Hot sunny summer day and tobacco will be in case with high humidity .
Some times We can strip cured tobacco in July and most August .

The problem with raising two crops is planting . If you was to disc up the old fields and plant new plants , the second planting would come at the hottest part of your growing season .
The plants may cook or not survive at the second planting .

Sucker crop would be the only way to do it in my opinion.

Crop rotating is helpful .
 

chillardbee

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Hi,
I am new here, and I have a Question.
I have a 50 acre farm lot already prepped, and it is flat. I used to rent it out to a farmer who would grow corn or soy on it. I grew my first crop of tobacco this year, and after smoking it I found out it was amazing. I am not a regular smoker so I am not asking about how much I need to grow. I am asking how much I can grow? Approximately how many plants can one person handle? (I also have family, friends, and others to help with the parts that require more work: EG planting and harvest)

By my calculations I can grow approximately 7000 plants per acre, and each plant will yield 4 OZ, and at aprox $15 a pound that would be $26,250 per acre if I could sell it all at retail cost for whole leaf.

That is a great question. I think some other questions to consider before answering is 1: Is this going to be your full time seasonal work? 2: What assets do you have to make it work (tractor, plow, curing shed, ect) and if not do you have the finances to get these things? and 3: Do you have enough money to live on upto the time it's ready for selling? (if it sells). Here we're basically talking about a business start up and it's tougher than ever to get one up and going these days.

I've little experience obviously in commercial tobacco growing but I have been considering maybe going sideline once I get up north. I'm thinking and after doing some rough calculations that I might be able to handel 3 acres if I had some 2 part time employees to help here and there.

Since I'm a beekeeper and thats what I know best, that'll be, as it is now, my main income. A wise farmer will diversify his interests. Bees have held a fascination to me since I was a little kid and I guess when you love to do something so much, there's a life to be made with it. Tobacco is now kind of holding that same type of fascination for me too. For some reason there's a kind of mystery to it, both bees and baccy.

We farmers are the worst and most addicted gamblers out there. We hedge our bets, cheat if we can, be prepared for the best, and expect the worst. A successful honey year needs three things to line up. Big bee populations, lots of flowers, and weather. I can control the populations by giving feed so they are strong for the honeyflow. I can 'somewhat' control the flora by moving the bees to where the flora is. But I can not control the weather. The weather, so much depends on the weather. It can or may give years of bumper crops and it will give you years of nothing to show. I expect likely baccy is like that too, if your trying to make a living of it. I'd like to get Bigbonners take on that.
 
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BigBonner

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Farming is a gamble . I lost big this year with heavy rains . Last year was a hot year with a drought .
This winter I have lost a $1800 cow and two calves that when finished would bring around $750 each calf . This was due to cold weather .

7000 plants will not yield like you think it will . First you will loose the bottom 4 to 6 leaves . They do smoke good but they will be ugly and trashy . No one will buy the except for big tobacco .
Big tobacco buys all of them they can get . Big tobacco only contracts now and they don't pay like whole leaf sales do .
But with big tobacco you sell it all at one time and get one check . With whole leaf it will come in a little at a time .
When I make a dollar , somehow we wind up at Wal-Mart buying groceries and its gone .


Crop insurance on tobacco is a joke . I lost this year about half of my crop on one farm and I can't collect a single dollar .
$12000 + Fertilizer
$3500 Plants
$1800 Diesel and gas
$2800 Planting labor
$ 7500 Harvesting labor
$ 6500 stripping labor

That is not all the money I invested . I just can't remember all of them right now .
 

DonH

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The big money to be made from growing tobacco is the savings that come from not buying commercial product and not paying the high taxes. But buying whole leaf is much cheaper than growing, so the main reason to grow is because it's an enjoyable hobby. It's hard to make money growing it commercially because you are competing against farmers in the poorest countries like Zimbabwe.
 

BigBonner

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What excuse did the Insurance Co. use?

With insurance on tobacco . We are guaranteed a certain amount of money per acre on the whole crop on that farm . If five acres die and five acres live and the five living acres make the guaranteed money then you get nothing from insurance . The living makes up for the dead tobacco .

DonH

The high prices is not because of the farmers , it is BIG tobacco and taxes that makes tobacco prices high .We make pennies on the dollar .
 

TheNewestOldtimer

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Crop insurance on tobacco is a joke . I lost this year about half of my crop on one farm and I can't collect a single dollar .
$12000 + Fertilizer
$3500 Plants
$1800 Diesel and gas
$2800 Planting labor
$ 7500 Harvesting labor
$ 6500 stripping labor

That is not all the money I invested . I just can't remember all of them right now .

That can't possibly be your price per acre. It totals up to $34,100 at a rate of $8/lb that would be 4262.5 lbs to almost break even (because of unforeseen expenses and distribution costs).
Second $12000 on fertilizer either means multiple acres or you are getting screwed. A good crop of tobacco will remove 60 lbs of nitrogen 60 lbs of P2O5 and 180 lbs of K2O. This should cost $270 per acre per year. This is based off of Potassium nitrate (Nitrate of Potash or KNO3) costing $1000 per ton and triple super phosphate costing (TSP) $300 per ton. You would need 500 lbs of potassium nitrate and 133 lbs of triple super phosphate per acre. Allowing for 50 lbs of side dress nitrogen (this can be considered on the high end of what is recommended) using ammonium nitrate at a cost of $500 per ton is $36.77. For a total of $306.77 round up to $310. I estimate you are giving us the price per 35-40 acres. Unless you are using organic fertilizer or just getting screwed on the price of fertilizer. If it is the latter I highly recommend switching fertilizer dealers.

I could be way off here, but this is based on my past experience with fertilizer prices and recommendation for nutrient levels given by Virginia Tech and Kentucky University. You said that on a bad year you may get 1400 lbs of tobacco per acre Phillip Morris usually pays around $1.75 per lbs(and I could be wrong on this). That is $2450 on my low end estimate (that is likely to be wrong) of 35 acres that is $85,750-listed expenses=$51,650. Not bad pay, but still not much considering the work put in or the chances of a complete bust. If you could sell it for $5 for whole leaf you would make after listed expenses $210,900 that is if all my calculation and assumptions are right which they are not.

I too agree that crop insurance is a scam.
Oh and BTW even if it sounds like it I don't mean to upset you or anyone else, and I do appreciate your input even if it does not sound like I do.
 
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BigBonner

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That can't possibly be your price per acre. It totals up to $34,100 at a rate of $8/lb that would be 4262.5 lbs to almost break even (because of unforeseen expenses and distribution costs).
Second $12000 on fertilizer either means multiple acres or you are getting screwed. A good crop of tobacco will remove 60 lbs of nitrogen 60 lbs of P2O5 and 180 lbs of K2O. This should cost $270 per acre per year. This is based off of Potassium nitrate (Nitrate of Potash or KNO3) costing $1000 per ton and triple super phosphate costing (TSP) $300 per ton. You would need 500 lbs of potassium nitrate and 133 lbs of triple super phosphate per acre. Allowing for 50 lbs of side dress nitrogen (this can be considered on the high end of what is recommended) using ammonium nitrate at a cost of $500 per ton is $36.77. For a total of $306.77 round up to $310. I estimate you are giving us the price per 35-40 acres. Unless you are using organic fertilizer or just getting screwed on the price of fertilizer. If it is the latter I highly recommend switching fertilizer dealers.

I could be way off here, but this is based on my past experience with fertilizer prices and recommendation for nutrient levels given by Virginia Tech and Kentucky University. You said that on a bad year you may get 1400 lbs of tobacco per acre Phillip Morris usually pays around $1.75 per lbs(and I could be wrong on this). That is $2450 on my low end estimate (that is likely to be wrong) of 35 acres that is $85,750-listed expenses=$51,650. Not bad pay, but still not much considering the work put in or the chances of a complete bust. If you could sell it for $5 for whole leaf you would make after listed expenses $210,900 that is if all my calculation and assumptions are right which they are not.

I too agree that crop insurance is a scam.
Oh and BTW even if it sounds like it I don't mean to upset you or anyone else, and I do appreciate your input even if it does not sound like I do.


That was a field of tobacco . I did not say 1 acre . The one field is about 15 acres .
 

DonH

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DonH

The high prices is not because of the farmers , it is BIG tobacco and taxes that makes tobacco prices high .We make pennies on the dollar .

Yeah, that's what I meant. Big Tobacco can drive down what they pay farmers because they can get it cheap from low wage countries. But the consumer ends up paying a lot because of taxes. Which then goes to propaganda to convince them to quit, thanks to the Settlement.
 

TheNewestOldtimer

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Okay I know you did not say one acre, but I do not remember hearing 15 either.

On a bad year with those expenses with a sale price of $1.75 per lb that is only $2650.

What do you use for fertilizer? Potassium Nitrate is supposed to be one of the best potash sources for tobacco (due to it's low chloride content).

If you are getting rates by the ton (which you probably should) it should only cost $4650 to fertilize your 15 acres. Maybe you are using more fertilizer than is needed or any other possibility that I have yet to account for.
 

BigBonner

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My figure Roughly per 1 acre . I do go by soil test .

$ 350 plants
$ 175 Plowing and soil test and soil work mainly fuel and not counting my time .
$ 150 Labor Planting
$ 125 chopping weeds > ROUND UP WILL KILL TOBACCO !!! There is no good weed killer for tobacco .
$ 65 sucker control and pest control
$ 465 Fertilizer Nitrate , Potash , lime @ 1000 to 1600 # per acre mixed
$ 550 Harvesting , cutting and housing in the barn , AVG .45c to .50c per stick contract .
$ 150 Crop insurance
$ 30 Insurance on workers and equipment
$ 500 Stripping tobacco $ 8 per hour per worker . Not counting my time
$ 20 Wheat for cover crop .
$ 20 electric for air cylinders during stripping
$ 25 cotton baling string
$ ???? Mortgage Payments ???????? I have had nothing handed to me , Not even a hoe to chop weeds .
$2625 X 15 acres = $39375

One field is 10 acres and another is five acres I have other fields .
Tobacco sticks , Barn , tractors , wagons , harrows , setter , plows , knives and spears , Truck for hauling to market , These can be used for years but sometimes need replacing .

I don't put much faith in the state run tobacco studies . They cut pennies and are not real farmers living in a real farm environment . Their studies would vary by fertilizer prices , labor prices and fuel prices . Every year prices change along with labor prices .
Our fertilizer may vary from fertilizer for crops used in the south .

That is prices from a tobacco farmer , Me , I can show documentation of each .Even though these are estimates I will guarantee I am very close .
 
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