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NC State Extension

Burley Tobacco Variety Information

Description of the Burley Minimum Standards and Official Variety Testing Programs (adapted from the 2011 NCSU Burley Tobacco Guide)

The variety testing program conducted through the Agricultural Research Service at NCSU evaluates breeding lines through the Regional Minimum Standards Program and commercial varieties through the North Carolina Official Variety Test.

The purpose of the Regional Minimum Standards Program is to ensure that varieties planted by growers are acceptable to the tobacco industry. Once a breeding line is genetically stable, it can be entered into the Regional Preliminary Test (RPT) conducted cooperatively by university personnel in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina. Breeding lines that pass the minimum standards for chemical quality in the RPT are eligible for entry into the Regional Quality Test (RQT). If a breeding line passes the RQT, which includes a smoke test, it is eligible for release as a commercial variety

The purpose of the North Carolina Official Variety Test (OVT) is to assist growers with variety selection. In 2016, burley OVT trials were conducted at the Upper Mountain Research Station (Laurel Springs) and the Mountain Research Station (Waynesville). These replicated tests include popular commercial varieties and hybrids and advanced breeding lines from NCSU and other public and private breeding programs within the burley belt.

Variety Selection

To select the best variety for you fields, consider disease resistance first. The level of resistance needed for soilborne diseases varies depending on field history, length of crop rotation, and crops grown in rotation with tobacco. Once you determine the necessary level of disease resistance, consider agronomic characteristics such as yield, quality, and time of maturity. Time of flowering is an indication of maturity and is an important consideration in choosing varieties suitable for the short growing season in North Carolina. Disease resistance information, maturity estimates, and additional variety descriptions can be found in the 2017/2018 Burley and Dark Tobacco Production guide (Tables 1 to 3, pages 3 to 5).

Additionally, yield and quality data specific to popular burley tobacco varieties is available. Results are reported from two growing locations (Laurel Springs and Waynesville) across multiple growing seasons (2014-2016).