The NC State University Tobacco Tour took place July 18 through 20th. Over 100 attendees visited 7 research station and grower locations over the course of the 3 days. We highlighted entomology research at the Lower Coastal Plain Research Station, Kinston, NC and the Upper Coastal Plain Research Station, Rocky Mount, NC on July 18 and 19, respectively.
At Kinston, specialists and researchers presented research trials designed to test the effects of pesticides on beneficial insects, to compare sucker control materials and application methods, to reduce pesticide use against tobacco budworm (Heliothis virescens) in seed production, and the flue cured official variety trial.
At Rocky Mount, we visited tobacco black shank resistance & chemical control trials, our lepidopteran pesticide movement & longevity trial, and our neonicotinoid movement & longevity trial. I was extremely proud of undergraduate intern Dylan Kraus and doctoral student Alejandro Merchan who did an outstanding job presenting their laboratory and field results for the lepidopteran and neonicotinoid trials, respectively.
On the afternoon of July 19, the tour visited two outstanding farmers, and fantastic research collaborators, in Wilson and Johnston Counties. At Scott Farms, we discussed the use of variable frequency fan drivers to save electricity in flue cured barns. Scott Farms has 110 barns, and in the last 2 years, savings per experimental barn ranged from $26 to $57 per cure. Each barn completes about 10 cures per season.
At Holland Farms, we visited a sucker control trial comparing different application methods and pesticides. Tolerance for maleic hydrazide (MH), a systemic sucker control material, residues in tobacco is decreasing, with some purchasers requesting that no MH be used on their product at all. Loren Fisher & Sandy Stewart, NCSU Crop Sciences, have several research projects designed at reducing sucker control pesticide residues.
The Tobacco Tour is the product of the organizational efforts of Mina Mila, NCSU Plant Pathology, Loren Fisher & Sandy Stewart, Crop Sciences, Grant Ellington, Biological & Agricultural Engineering, and myself. I am particularly proud of the tobacco entomology group at NCSU (Anna Chapman, Zack McCool, Alejandro Merchan, and Dylan Kraus) and look forward to many successful events in the future.