Tobacco growers and others in the industry had an opportunity to see what this year's tobacco research has in store for the future, during the South Carolina Tobacco Tour, held July 10. The tour was on the Pee Dee Research Center in Florence, as well as remote locations.
Clemson researchers on the tour do their part to look into any aspect of the industry that can be of assistance to growers, from variety testing to investigating disease-control chemicals and methods. They look into applications of fertilizers, assess insect and weed control, mechanical technology and much more.
The good news is that much of the tobacco in the state looks good this year (at least up to the time of the tour). Also, even though the state had been undergoing periods of drought, particularly in some areas, it had just rained ahead of the tour and water was standing in the rows of much of the tobacco at Pee Dee REC.
On the other hand, there has been another bout with drought since the tour. By the time the attendees arrived on the Pee Dee REC for the event, a touch of the extreme drought was again entering the state from the direction of Georgia on South Carolina's western border. Note that the rated category of Extreme Drought is just one category away from the worst Exceptional Drought category, as rated by the U.S. Drought Monitor.
In addition, all of the state except for a small area in the northeast, is now in some state of drought condition, from Severe to Moderate drought to Abnormally Dry. To learn more visit the web site at httpL//droughtmonitor.unl.edu and select the link to the Southeast section of the country.
The good news at the time of this story's posting, however, (Aug.1) is that there are multi-day forecasts for possible showers and storms across much of the state, from Florence to Orangeburg and from Greenville in the northwest part of the state to Charleston in the Southeast.
Following are some photos highlighting the 2012 S.C. Tobacco Tour.