From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Tobacco harvest has begun

Drought has affected this year's tobacco crop



Dark and burley tobaccoDark and burley tobacco in a Christian County, KY, field

Tobacco harvest has begun in Christian County. The cutting down of the plants is underway in some fields, and in some fields, it is already finished. Trucks and tractors are pulling trailers of tobacco to the barns where it will be hung to dry and cure. The country roads are busy with the transport of the harvest.

Tobacco has some tolerance for dry weather, but this year's plants are noticably smaller than last year's. The drought didn't kill the plants, but the pounds of tobacco harvested will be affected.

Though you can't see from this viewpoint, this field was being cut at the time I stopped to take this photo. Near the house, in the field of burley (light green) tobacco, a line of men with big knives was moving across the field, cutting the plants. Then the plants are hung on sticks and stood up in the field to wilt for a while before they are taken to the barns.

I've written a lot about tobacco farming in Christian County, and have posted quite a few photos. If you're interested, click the label, "tobacco."

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2 comments:

John Ruberry said...

Although I'm not a smoker, I thought it was neat when we saw the yellow/brown tobacco leaves in east of Mammoth Cave on our drive to the Great Smokies last year.

Genevieve said...

I'm not proud that I used to be a smoker, but I thank God that I quit when I did. Cold turkey is the best way to do it.

Tobacco has a long, proud history in Kentucky. Growing it is truly a highly developed art, and I respect growers for their skill and for the hard, hard work they put into each tobacco crop. It's just a shame that tobacco products are so dangerous to the health of the users.

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