Tobacco

Tobacco growing 1935-36

Article from the 1935-36, Annual Report of The Department of Agriculture, South Australia

The Tobacco Instructor for South Australia (Mr. R. E. Courthope-Giles) reports.

The past season has been a very trying one for tobacco growers owing to a serious outbreak of Blue Mould Disease, which was general throughout Australia.

In this state, the Adelaide Hills district suffered to a greater extent than other tobacco growing areas.

Experiments carried out by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research during the past year at Eurobin and Canberra with Benzol fumes have been so successful in raising of clean seedlings that it is hoped that this menace to the industry will be overcome entirely in the near future.

In collaboration with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the Department is carrying out similar experiments at Penola and Berri, where 1000 yards (914 metres approx.) of seed beds are progressing in a satisfactory manner.

Field trials were conducted by the South Eastern Tobacco Growers’ Association in the past season. The winning plot of 2 acres (0.8 hectares approx.) of Dungowan yielded 12.5 hundredweight (635 kilograms approx.) to the acre and sold at an average price of 1s.11.5d per lb (43.5 cents per 1 kilogram approx.). The market value would have been at least 6d. per lb. (11 cents per 1 kilogram approx.) higher but for damage caused to the leaf by high winds.

The department is commencing operations on a small scale experimental tobacco farm of 20 acres (8.1 hectares approx.) in the vicinity of Penola, for assisting in the development of tobacco growing in this area.

Owing to the interest being taken in the Murray Irrigation Areas in tobacco culture, where some 50 newly registered growers have established experimental plots, the department has taken over two tobacco barns from the Smyrna Fig Co. (in liquidation), to assist in the curing of the leaf.

Two new areas, namely, the Stansbury Scrub on the Yorke Peninsula, and the Tintinara and Culburra in the Ninety-Mile Desert, are being tried out in co-operation with local farmers to ascertain their suitability for this crop when irrigation is available.

It is estimated that approximately 250 acres (101 hectares approx.) of tobacco will be planted upon suitable land in the coming season. This is practically a 100 per cent, increase on the acreage set aside for tobacco in 1934-35.

Owing to the shortage of seedlings last season, due to Blue Mould, the area actually planted throughout the State was not more than 100 acres (40.5 hectares approx.) from which a return of approximately 29600 lbs (13426 kilograms approx.) of cured leaf was obtained.

Of the 148 bales (200lbs.) or (90.7 kilograms approx.) of leaf of 1934-35 crop offered for sale, 101 were purchased by buyers from Eastern States, at and average price of 1s. 6d. per lb (33 cents per 1 kilogram approx.).

Ten bales were held by sellers owing to dissatisfaction with the prices offered. This leaf is being re-graded and will be submitted to buyers at a later date.

Seventeen bales of old leaf were purchased from growers at an average price of 1s. per lb (22 cents per 1 kilogram approx.).

R. C. Scott, Supervisor of Experimental Work.