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Reaping tips

Hi guys.

We’ve got a new season upon us and there have been some

challenges with toxicity from chemicals, and a lot of pythium

in the seedbeds this year and once again we’re starting the

season with some challenges.

So here’s a few tips that might help you through this.

When we start reaping primings, the bottom leaf is typically

green, very low starch and it's very common for them to be

difficult to cure. Plus with phyto and stuff like that and we

have uneven topping and plants at different stages. So one

thing I do to help with my reaping of primings is I let the

bottom of the plants senesce naturally. The leaves are not

worth very much and we usually reap them on the green side

and they typically go brown in the barns and usually they are

not even worth the coal, grading or transport.

When I think I’m ready for reaping I usually delay it for

another week, possibly even ten days and I let a couple of

bottom leaves senesce naturally. So what that does is:

number one, your sandy areas will lose up to 4 leaves, for

example - your average would be two leaves and your anthills,

green areas, you will probably lose nothing but when you go

in and start reaping you usually have spare labour. I put a

team in front and they drop off all the bananas and when the

reaping team comes in, they reap the first green leaf which is

one up from your banana. You’re guaranteed that that is ripe

and then when you cure that with your normal one degree wet

bulb depression day one, two to three wet bulb depression

day two, you’ll be fixing that by day three. So first of all you

can have an even-matured, even-ripeness first reap. Number

two, your colouring times are going to be down, possibly as

low as 48 hours and they will colour quickly and cure like

butter and then thereafter, you’ll be just going around reaping

1s (or if you reap 2s) but the point is it's going to be an even

maturity. It's not a table top under there because it goes

according to your soil structure and the health of the plant but

doing it this way makes your reaping for the rest of the

season much easier.

So you’ve got a ripe leaf guaranteed. Secondly, you’ve got an

even maturity across your whole reap. Number three, they are

easy to cure and number four, every time you come through

it’s the same maturity so you are reaping by numbers, so

you’re effectively reaping ripe and then the last big advantage

is you’ll take off a leaf every four days like I do and you’ll not

have to stop reaping after two weeks. So most of us get stuck

in nice and early and we run out of ripe tobacco. We are

pulling our hair out because its curing all sponge. So doing

these five simple procedures or ultimately it’s just one

procedure of letting the bottom senesce, but you’ll get five

advantages from just delaying your reaping just a little bit.

4. The last thing is by delaying your reaping you’ve got a lot

of natural ethrel in the crop and that will keep your crop

ripening at a nice steady rate. If you’re scratching for green

leaves, there’s no natural ethereal. You're typically reaping on

the green side, your colouring temperatures exceed 72 hours,

your sponge is just horrendous and it's almost impossible to


5. Then as far as packing your clips, you’re not in a rush when

starting, you’ve got plenty of curing, plenty of labour so

please pack light. On a manipular clip don’t exceed 60 leaves.

On a talita clip you can tie 3s. Do not be tempted to tie 4s on

primings and if it's on a tunnel, I personally tie 2s on a talita

and 60 leaves on a manipular. So be patient and that should

get you off to a really good start for the season.

Rob Stokes

ROC Systems CEO/ Director

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