See the Calendar Link (left) to learn of Tobacco Meetings, Field Days and Tours scheduled for 2013.
The University of Georgia Tobacco Team
The University of Georgia Tobacco Team develops and implements Extension educational programs on producing and managing flue-cured tobacco. They work closely with county Extension agents, researchers, commodity and agribusiness groups to provide sound, research-based recommendations to assist Georgia farmers in producing high quality, flue-cured tobacco.
The Tobacco Team works together to provide agents and growers alike the most up-to-date and factual information on production, pest management, harvesting, curing and marketing of tobacco available.
Educational programs conducted by the Tobacco Team have resulted in reduced maleic hydrazide (MH) residues and increased sucker control, the evaluation and adoption of baling cured leaf, and the conversion of curing barn furnaces to indirect heat using heat exchangers.
The Tobacco Team conducts annual update training for county Extension agents and an annual Georgia-Florida Tobacco Tour of on-farm demonstrations, research plots and grower farms to provide information to growers, agribusiness persons, county agents and tobacco industry personnel.
Tobacco production in Georgia involves more than 200 growers who produce flue-cured tobacco on more than 14,000 acres in 26 counties across the state.
Flue-cured tobacco is harvested a few leaves at a time beginning with the bottom of the stalk and progressing to the top over a period of 8 to 10 weeks.
Leaves are placed in a bulk curing barn where heated air is forced between the leaves to remove the moisture from the leaves over a period of 7 to 10 days. During this period tobacco not only dries, but turns from green to a golden yellow color. The temperature is increased following an established curing schedule to set the color precisely. This also establishes the level of reducing sugars in the tobacco resulting in the sweet aroma for which Georgia produced tobacco has always been known.
Tobacco is sold under contract to leaf purchasing and manufacturing companies, and the price per pound varies according to the quality of the leaf based on its stalk position, color, clarity and damage from disease or curing. Flue-cured tobacco is sold in large bales averaging 750 pounds each. Most processing is located in North Carolina and Virginia. Tobacco is shipped north via trucks, and once processed is stored for one or more years before being used in the manufacture of cigarettes.