Power Loss During Curing and Selecting Generator Capacity

— Written By
Below are some links to information concerning power loss during curing and selecting generator capacity. Hopefully this will not be needed, but the threat is becoming more likely. Many of you remember Fran and the widespread wind damage possible to any and all infrastructure, let alone all the crops in the field. Extended periods without power are a given.
As most of you know, the end of the yellowing phase and the early part of leaf drying during curing is the most critical time if power goes down (48 to 96 hours into the curing process). The tobacco will overheat rapidly during this time, especially in box containers without the fan operating. We know that growers are harvesting nonstop to save the crop in general and now they have this potential disaster to deal with. It appears we are looking at a late week event if the storm maintains the predicted path. Any barns loaded yesterday and today, which will be many, may be at or near the last stage of stem drying by Friday. If the barns are within a day or two of finishing, then they can go without airflow for several days. Certainly, anything loaded tomorrow and later will potentially be at a critical phase by Friday and not last very long (possibly only a few hours) without the fan operating.
The last link has a section that discusses “Selecting and Using Standby Electric Power Equipment” for curing barns. Fortunately, more growers have obtained some type of backup power since Fran (1996). If a grower does not have any type of backup power, then leaving the crop in the field may be better than harvesting. The barns that are at the critical stages would take priority, if a power outage occurs and a grower only has limited generator capacity. All of this is discussed in more detail in the information links below. If you have questions let me know and everyone be safe.
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Avoiding Tobacco Curing Losses Due to Electrical Failures

This publication for tobacco growers describes steps that can be taken to avoid or minimize tobacco curing losses due to an electrical outage.

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Purchasing a Back-Up Generator for the Farm

This publication contains important information and safety tips regarding gasoline-powered generators to be used in an emergency or disaster.