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North Carolina farmers deal with tobacco disease caused by high temperatures

High temperatures have impacted many people. Farmers are no exception. With hot temperatures, tobacco farmers are having to keep a close eye on their crop.

Specifically for tobacco, there’s a disease that’s erupted due to heat and humidity called “black shank.” Some of Pitt County’s tobacco fields are impacted by this. Humidity, high temperatures and rainfall help grow tobacco. But it also creates another problem.

“Black shank is a soil-borne disease,” said NC Agricultural Extension Agent Mitch Smith. “If that field has a history of black shank, it will show itself. And it can be a devastating disease if you’ve not rotated for three or four years and used a resistant variety.

“So, therefore, it will have an impact on the bottom line for several of our tobacco farmers this year.”

Smith said once black shank is found, the hope is to salvage what’s left in the field to reduce the loss of tobacco.

On the other hand, Winterville farmer, Jack Allen, said his tobacco is doing well this season.

“The hot heat is causing a few issues, but it’s not, we’re not in a desperate stage by any means. If we go another couple weeks with the same kind of dry weather, then you’ll see some signs of injury,” said Allen.

Allen’s approximately 600 acres of tobacco aren’t seeing much black shank.

“In a couple of weeks, we’ll be back here to crop it again. And then the final crop would have been say in a month’s time,” said Allen.

Source : Fox