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Organic Tobacco Farming: A Complete Cultivation Guide

In this article, we will be talking about Organic Tobacco Cultivation and Farming Practices.

Shruti Kandwal
Tobacco that is organic requires a variety of soil types. Rainfed crops like bidi tobacco are typically grown in alluvial, black clayey, or loamy soils.
Tobacco that is organic requires a variety of soil types. Rainfed crops like bidi tobacco are typically grown in alluvial, black clayey, or loamy soils.

Organic tobacco is one that has not been cultivated using artificial fertilizers, pesticides, or other chemicals. Nicotiana tabacum is the botanical name for tobacco. The tobacco plant has broad, straightforward, oval-shaped leaves and a thick, hairy stem. Nicotine, a psychoactive substance found in tobacco plants that also has soothing properties, accelerates up activity in our central nervous system. There are numerous ways to consume tobacco, including cigarettes, pipe tobacco, and snuff or snus.

The tobacco plant produces huge clusters of tubulars, white, cream, pink, or red flowers that can grow to be between 3.5 and 5.5 cm long. Nicotine, a stimulant alkaloid, and harmala alkaloids are both present in organic tobacco. Most cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, and flavored shisha tobacco are made from dried tobacco leaves.

Soil and climate requirements for Organic Tobacco:

For organic tobacco, ideal conditions include yearly precipitation of 50 to 100 cm and growth-period temperatures of 15 to 20 °C. If there is a 100 cm or higher rainfall, organic tobacco cannot thrive. It needs bright sunshine and dry weather, but not less than 8% moisture, to dry the leaves after harvesting. Weather that is too dry is not ideal because the leaves dry and break.

Tobacco that is organic requires a variety of soil types. Rainfed crops like bidi tobacco are typically grown in alluvial, black clayey, or loamy soils. Cigar and cheroot tobaccos are grown on soils ranging from grey to red, from light gravelly to sandy loams. The chewing tobacco is grown throughout the nation in a variety of soil conditions. Sand must be added to cigar soil to improve its quality. The soil needs to drain well.

Leaf quality:

The kind of soil, the weather, plant diseases, the location of the leaf, and the timing of the harvesting and curing processes all have an impact on the physical and chemical characteristics of a tobacco leaf. Any change in any one of these characteristics can lead to changing the leaf's form and eventually the way it smokes.

Large leaves with a high lamina-to-vein ratio and low nitrogen content at maturity are features of high-quality tobacco. The quality of the leaf is determined by the nicotine content, which has a significant impact on tobacco prices.

The quality of the leaves varies depending on where they are located on the tobacco plant. The largest leaves, or "lugs," are those closest to the ground but are commonly contaminated with soil. The cutters, the best-quality leaf that is huge and has a low number of leaf veins, emerge from the bottom part of the stem. The leaf is the other component; while the lamina may still be of good quality, the proportion of vein and midrib has increased and the size has decreased.

The topmost leaves of the stem are typically small because they are frequently immature when harvested, could contain a lot of nitrogen, and might be dark in appearance. They are referred to as small leaves or tips and are of lower quality. It should be able to create high-quality tobacco leaf provided the crop was cultivated using proper farming techniques.

The pH level of soil for Organic Tobacco Cultivation:

The pH of the soil should be kept in the somewhat acidic range of 5.5 to 6.5, with calcium availability being five times higher than magnesium. The probability of black root rot increases with increasing pH levels.

Cultivation Practices of Organic Tobacco

The cultivation of organic tobacco is similar to that of other agricultural products. At first, seeds were quickly distributed across the ground. The destruction of half the tobacco crops was caused by flea beetles, who were attacking young plants more frequently. To produce a more palatable flavor, tobacco is frequently fertilized with the mineral apatite, which deprives the plant's nitrogen supply partially.

The tobacco plants are transplanted into the fields once they are about 8 inches (20 cm) tall. To plant, farmers must wait for rainy weather. With the use of a tobacco peg, a curved wooden implement, or a deer antler, a hole is made in the tilled ground. The planter would drill two holes to the right and left, move two feet, select plants, and then repeat.

Tobacco is grown every year and can be collected in a variety of ways. The earliest method still in use today involves cutting off the stalk at the ground with a tobacco knife to harvest the entire plant at once. It is then hung in a curing barn after being speared onto sticks with four to six plants per stick. As the leaves ripened, farmers started to pull them from the stem to harvest organic tobacco. 

A field of tobacco was harvested because the tobacco leaves develop from the ground up. The crop must be topped before this when the pink flowers grow larger. Large fields are now mechanically harvested, but hand labor is still used for some tasks, such topping flowers and occasionally picking immature leaves.

Harvesting Techniques of Organic Tobacco Cultivation:

The following methods can be used to harvest organic tobacco 70 to 130 days after transplantation:

  1. The entire plant is cut & the stalk split or speared and hung on a Tobacco stick or lath, or

  2. The Tobacco leaves are removed at intervals as they mature.

Using a needle, cigar-wrapper tobacco leaves are strung up, and a string fastened to a lath or stick placed in a curing barn is used to loop leaves to be flue-cured. to avoid breaking and bruising while undergoing the necessary handling for cure. The leaf should wilt without being burned by the sun. From a few hours to two days, tobacco can be left in the field to wilt.

Reaping and Curing of Organic Tobacco Cultivation:

To keep leaves from becoming overripe, reaping needs to be done as soon as they are ripe. Over-ripe to 6 weeks.  Coloring and lamina drying are crucial phases. The speed at which these stages advance will ultimately affect quality. Barn rot may develop if humidity levels are too high and drying proceeds too slowly, while quality may suffer if drying proceeds too quickly. This can be seen visually in the structure of the varying degrees of yellow mottling. The leaf may permanently retain its green color if drying is carried out far too fast.

Carotenoids in tobacco leaf can slowly oxidize and degrade as a result of curing and subsequent aging. As a result, the tobacco leaves create certain compounds that give the smoke "smoothness" and add notes of sweet hay, tea, rose oil, or fruity aromatic flavor.

Grading and Stabilizing of Tobacco:

When the tobacco leaves are ready to be packaged for sale, the tobacco farmer separates them based on stalk position and quality before packing each one into a bale. The leaves are rated by experienced leaf buyers at the time of sale who determine leaf quality by examining variations in color, texture, and scent.

After being purchased, the tobacco is delivered to a nearby processing facility where the leaves are further processed and uniformly dried. Organic tobacco is pressed into cases for international shipping after drying. Leaf tobacco may be kept for a long time in storage.

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