Pee Dee research center to hold tobacco field day
CLEMSON — Tobacco may have lost its allure, but hasn’t lost its value. Clemson University researchers and Extension agents will hold Tobacco Field Day July 10 at the Pee Dee Research and Education Center (REC) near Florence.
In 1928 South Carolina growers grew 148,000 acres of tobacco. In 2013, they grew 14,500 acres. But, tobacco still is a top crop in profit per acre in the state. It brings in more than $60 million a year. Tobacco is produced primarily in 14 Pee Dee counties in the northeastern part of the state.
Pee Dee REC is the base of much of the tobacco research and public service work by Clemson University. Research and education efforts focus primarily on efficient, cost effective and environmentally sound production, management and curing practices as well as greenhouse production of tobacco transplants.
The field day program will begin at 8:15 a.m. and include agronomy, plant pathology and entomology activities, according to plant pathologist and event organizer Bruce Fortnum.
“We will highlight new advances in curing technologies, new insecticides for insect control and new methods to control diseases, especially bacterial wilt,” Fortnum said, adding wilt reduces yields up to 8 percent annually.
J. Michael Morre from the University of Georgia will discuss agronomic issues.
Lunch will be held at the Thunderbird Inn. Afterward, there is a field trip to the farm of Lee Newman in Sumter County to observe two black shank fungicide field trials.
Pesticide recertification credits are available for those who attend the presentations.