Tobacco crop looking grim - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tobacco crop looking grim

August 5, 2004

Lowndes County - Fred Wetherington is harvesting a tobacco crop he's not so happy with. "I think that's probably going to be the case across the state," said Wetherington.

Too much water too fast and growth stunting diseases turned out a less than average yield. "We had a dry spring and then a lot of rain in a short period of time during June, and also some Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus and Black Shank hurt us," said Wetherington.

Wetherington only expects to make about 80 percent of a crop this year. "Most folks are used to making 95 to 100 percent of a crop," said Wetherington.

And weather conditions like today's aren't exactly ideal for harvesting. Tobacco farmers are racing against the clock to harvest their crop, because the extreme heat is baking their leaves, destroying what plants they have left. "We're working from day light until pretty much dark right now," said Wetherington.

As the demand for tobacco continues to fall, a good crop is crucial. "We've had less and less tobacco on the farm and its been more and more important to make every pound you can to make ends meet and pay the bills," said Wetherington.

So tobacco farmers like Wetherington will try to salvage what's left of their crop, and hope for a higher yield next year.

posted at 4:35 P.M. by ashley.harper@walb.com