Tobacco production projected up 7 percent

All U.S. tobacco production for 2007 is forecast at 775 million pounds, up 7 percent from 2006 and 20 percent above 2005.

Area harvested is forecast at 354,070 acres, 4 percent above last year. Yields for 2007 are expected to average 2,189 pounds per acre, 45 pounds greater than 2006.

Flue-cured tobacco production is expected to total 496 million pounds, up 4 percent from the previous forecast and 11 percent above 2006. Growers plan to harvest 224,000 acres in 2007, unchanged from the previous forecast but up 5 percent from last year.

Yields are expected to average 2,212 pounds per acre, up 86 pounds from the July 1 forecast and 117 pounds greater than a year ago.

Growers in North Carolina, the leading flue-cured tobacco state, expect production to total 361 million pounds, up 11 percent from 2006.

Harvest is under way in all flue-cured states, but is a little behind schedule in all states except Virginia.

Hot, dry weather has been a concern for growers in all flue-cured states, but recent rainfall in most states has increased optimism for good yields.

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