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Should Tennessee Tobacco Growers Invest in Irrigation, Fertigation or Plastic Mulch? (An Extension Fact-Sheet based on recent research)

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  5th National Decennial Irrigation Conference Proceedings, 5-8 December 2010, Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix, Arizona USA  IRR10-8527.(doi:10.13031/2013.35886)
Authors:   Brian G Leib, Eric F Caldwell, Hubert J Savoy, John R Buchanan
Keywords:   Burley tobacco, Dark fire-cured tobacco, Drip irrigation, Cost-benefit, Fertigation, Plasticulture, Nitrosamine

U.S. tobacco growers are competing in a recently deregulated market with greater supply coming from abroad and shrinking U.S. demand for their product. Tobacco production based on preplant fertilization and reliance on natural precipitation has become less profitable under current conditions. This fact sheet combines the results of two studies that tested the benefit of irrigation, fertigation, and plasticulture to produce higher tobacco yield and quality while reducing carcinogens, tobacco specific nitrosamines (TSNA). Eight years of study and two sites formed the basis for tobacco irrigation recommendations that were representative of Tennessee conditions.

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