Tobacco crop not looking good for Southside farmers

Recent hot, dry weather expected to reduce crop yield significantly


Pittsylvania County, Va. – This year is turning out to be a tough year for Southside tobacco farmers.

Harvesting has begun, but many farmers are worried that all of their tobacco may not mature in time to be harvested before we start seeing frost in the fall.

The rainy spring delayed planting, and the wet start to the growing season caused the crop's roots to be very shallow.

With the recent lack of rain, the shallow roots are causing the tobacco to mature slower because the roots aren't deep enough to reach the water deep in the ground.

The inability to access the water also increases the impact of the drought conditions.

Pittsylvania County extension agent Stephen Barts says farmers are on edge.

"For the last three or four weeks, we've had excessive temperatures and (drought) conditions that have reduced the potential yield of that crop pretty significantly," Barts said.

About 6,000 acres of tobacco are grown in Pittsylvania County.

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