North Carolina Tobacco Tour 2011

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.


Clyde Sorenson presents trial

Clyde Sorenson, NCSU entomology professor, discusses experiences during the first year of a research trial studying the effects of systemic neonicotiniod insecticides on parasitoid wasp. Photo: HJB

Loren Fisher discusses sucker control

Loren Fisher, NCSU crop sciences associate professor, discusses one of several sucker controls underway in 2011. Photo: HJB


Tobacco harvest

Tobacco harvest was well underway at Tucker Farms in Pitt County, NC as the NC Tobacco Tour stopped for breakfast on July 19, 2011. Photo: HJB


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.

Mina Mila and Clyde Bogle

Mina Mila, NCSU associate professor of plant pathology, and Clyde Bogle, Upper Coastal Plain Research Station superintendent, in front of black shank management trials. Photo: HJB

Dylan Kraus

Entomology intern, Dylan Kraus, presents results to date from movement and longevity trials of new insecticides for use against lepidopteran pests (tobacco budworms and hornworms) in tobacco. Photo: HJB

Alejando Merchan

Entomology doctoral student Alejandro Merchan presents field results and aphid bioassay data from neonicotinoid movement & longevity trials at Rocky Mount, NC. Alejandro will begin to study the relationship between defensive compounds and insect diversity this fall, using aphids as a model. Photo: HJB

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.

Linwood Scott and Normal Harrell

Linwood Scott and Norman Harrell, Wilson County cooperative extension, discuss the use of variable frequency drives to reduce energy use in flue cured tobacco curing barns. Photo: HJB

Joey Holland

Joey Holland, Holland Farms, welcomes Tobacco Tour attendees to his farm, location of a sucker control application method trial. Photo: HJB

Sucker control application

The reduction of sucker control pesticide residues in tobacco is a hot research topic this year. At Holland Farms, Joe Priest & Scott Whitley (NCSU Crop Sciences Department) and Jeremy Machacek (tobacco intern) demonstrated four sucker control application methods. From left: Scott demonstrates a standard drop line, Jeremy demonstrates a drop line with a meter, a standard 3 nozzle sucker control configuration, and a conveyer. Photo: HJB

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.

Burrack lab

The NC State University tobacco entomology group. From left: Anna Chapman (research technician), Zack McCool (research assistant), Alejandro Merchan (doctoral student), Dylan Kraus (research intern), and Hannah Burrack (principle investigator). Photo: Mitch Smith

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