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T. David Reed

Extension Agronomist, Tobacco

Ph.D., Entomology, 1990, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

M.S., Entomology, 1987, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

B.S., Agronomy and Integrated Pest Management, 1984, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

  1. Greenhouse tobacco transplant production
    1. Maximizing the yield of usable transplants
    2. Alternative production systems, including the development of a biodegradable, disposable tray
    3. Management practices – seeding dates, clipping, media and fertilizer evaluations, management practices corresponding to greenhouse water chemistry, tray, sanitation, etc.
    4. Seed performance and seedling mortality factors
  2. Tobacco conservation tillage
    1. Primary focus in recent years has been on the use of strip-tillage
    2. Management of residue cover
    3. Row cultivation practices to maintain surface residue following transplanting
    4. Cooperative research studies have addressed pest management issues associated with conservation tillage
  3. Tobacco production
    1. Fertilization of flue-cured, dark fire-cured, and burley with emphasis on reducing costs while maintaining adequate yield, quality, and chemical composition
    2. Topping and sucker control, including the evaluation of reduced and MH-free sucker control programs and alternative application methods
    3. Practical implementation of drip irrigation in tobacco
    4. Cultural practices for burley tobacco in piedmont counties of Virginia
  4. Tobacco curing
    1. Flue-cured tobacco curing efficiency
    2. Curing management with dark fire-cured and air-cured tobacco
    3. Burley tobacco curing focusing on TSNA reduction and alternatives to traditional burley curing barns for piedmont Virginia growers

The objective of the tobacco extension program in Virginia is to provide growers educational programs addressing the profitable production of quality tobacco.  Quality is ultimately determined by the purchaser of the tobacco and encompasses physical and chemical characteristics of the cured leaf as well as pesticides residues and non-tobacco related foreign material (NTRM) associated with the tobacco.  Thus communication is necessary between the industry and our extension personnel to stay current on issues that may potentially impact growers.

Educational programs are centered on providing the necessary training to local extension agents to allow them to directly meet the needs of the growers.  Additional programs are coordinated with the agents to meets specific needs of growers and may include: production meetings, field day and tours, and on-farm tests where replicated research trials are conducted with cooperating growers in local communities.  The specific topics of my extension program closely follow my research interests as the goal is to provide growers with research based information to address their needs for tobacco production information.

Tobacco is a high value crop with numerous production related problems that can impact the yield and quality, thus impacting profitability.  A major component of our tobacco extension program is troubleshooting of production problems that may occur in the transplant greenhouse or field.  Prompt identification of the causes of production problems can lead to more timely remedial action or avoidance of unnecessary expense.

  1. Wilkinson, C.A. T.D. Reed, and W.M. Tilson.  2006.  Registration of ‘VA 119’ tobacco.  Crop Sci.  46:1392-1393.
  2. Clarke, J.J., T.D. Reed, and C.A. Wilkinson.  2001/2002.  Development of greenhouse tobacco seedling performance index.  Tob. Sci.  45:49-55.