My Tobacco Project 1964
|In September of 1963 I made an agreement with my dad and uncle to put out a tobacco
crop. Uncle Harold agreed to furnish the land, fertilizer, and cover crop seed.
I agreed to pay dad for the tractor, machinery, and housing, and he agreed to trade
labor when necessary. Uncle Harold would get one-half the gross returns from the
leaf tobacco. I would get the other half and pay dad.
For the plot, we agreed on a productive clay loam soil at the bottom of a draw. Dad put a terrace above the plot to keep the water off the hill from running across. A vigorous crop of vetch was turned under April 15, 1964 allowing plenty of time for decay before June 2 when the tobacco was set.
Jess Scott at the tobacco patch, August 1964. click photo to enlarge
I had a joint plant bed with dad. We sterilized the ground with methyl bromide and sowed 3 tsp. of Ky. #10 per hundred feet. I applied "Fermate" when the plants were the size of dimes to control fungus. It was a dry spring but the plant bed was close to a well and we watered it as often as necessary. One advantage of sterilization with gas is that the plant bed can be close to water rather than close to wood. We are convinced that our method of sterilization is far superior to burning and equally as cheap. I applied "Methoxychlor" once to control fleabeatles. Dad bought a tractor setter last year , and we were pleased with the results. There were 42 inches between rows and 18 inches between plants. I got good weed control with two cultivations and one hoeing. I applied "Seven" three times and got excellent control, of worms. I had to apply "Malathion" once for aphids.
One morning last summer I awoke after a hail storm and rushed over to Uncle Harold's to see the tobacco. I had gotten word that tobacco near by had been severely damaged. Luckily there was only mild damage to my crop which left only a few holes and scars on the lower leaves at stripping time.
The tobacco was topped shoulder high. There was a dry fall and I abstained from using "M-H-30". I suckered the tobacco just before it was cut. The tobacco was cut September 14 and housed the next day. We got the tobacco in just ahead of a rain. The tobacco was hung in Dad's barn. It was fairly high, the lowest tier being 12 feet from the ground. The cover crop was plowed September 20. The tobacco was stripped during December and sold January 7, 1965. The tobacco averaged 65 cents per pound and none went to the pool.
Walter Scott, Margaret Eleanor Scott
Witt (Aunt Mago),
pool - At this time the federal government guaranteed a minimum price per pound of tobacco. This price varied by the grade of tobacco. The tobacco was taken to a warehouse in Louisville where tobacco companies bid on it. If the highest bid was not as high as the government's minimum price then the government paid that minimum price. This was called going to the pool.