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NC State Extension

Topping & Sucker Control – When to Top

Topping tobacco in the button stage (soon after the flower begins to appear) rather than later increases yield and body if suckers are con­trolled. When tobacco plants are not topped for 3 weeks after reach­ing the button stage, yields are reduced by 20 to 25 pounds per acre per day, or about 1 percent per acre per day when normal yields are in the 2,000- to 2,500-pounds-per-acre range. Higher yields reduce per-pound production costs for acreage-related inputs such as chemicals, fertilizers, and some labor expenses. In addition to improved yield and quality, early topping has other advantages

  • It usually allows topping to be completed before harvest begins, helping to spread the workload away from the peak harvest period.
  • It reduces the possibility of plants blowing over in a windstorm.
  • It stimulates earlier root development, which increases fertilizer efficiency, drought tolerance, and alkaloid production.
  • It helps to reduce buildup of certain insects
Page Last Updated: 10 years ago
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