Blue Mold Threatens Tobacco Crop

By: Courtney Lassiter
By: Courtney Lassiter

Most of the cases are in Eastern Kentucky but farmers are afraid it will spread farther into our part of the state.
In fact, Warren County has just been added to the list.
"Old farmers call it frog-eyed looks a little frog-eyed with spot right there." Ronnie Hargett examines his tobacco leaves after hearing about Blue Mold in Warren County.
"Blue mold is a fungal disease of tobacco by an air born spore." UK Pathologist Kenny Seebold specializes in tobacco.
"It's a concern no doubt."
Blue Mold has the potential to destroy an entire tobacco crop, farmers like Ronnie are bracing for the worst.

"All that work and expense for nothing."
Ronnie just spent 800 dollars spraying with a fungicide called "Ridomil Gold" but sometimes Blue Mold is resistant to the protectant.
So Seebold suggests "Quadris" and other fungicides you can specially order from your local dealer.
Besides spraying as his only precaution Ronnie even set his tobacco more than 40 inches apart so it can breathe during the summer months.

"Air can't move through field through plants and sets it up for the fungus."
Farmers like Ronnie remember how their crop was ruined in an outbreak a few years ago that cost the state's farmers almost 200 million dollars.
"Will start out the size of dime go to quarter ... eventually eat up entire leaf."
Ronnie's has more than 20 acres of tobacco. It hasn't been hit yet ... but he's checking everyday.
Specialists say most of the states blue mold problems this year originated in plants shipped from out of state.
We need hot , dry weather to keep the mold at bay.
www.uky.edu


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