Barning Tobacco

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Last week I talked about how we harvest tobacco on our farm with mechanical harvesters.  The next step is to load boxes which are then put into bulk barns.




Here is a box.  You can see that it is open so that air can move through it. 




 Each of our barns holds 8 boxes.  Some barns hold 10 but we have all 8-box barns


Before we can load the boxes into the barns, the tobacco has to be put into the box.  Trucks bring the cropped tobacco to the shop yard where we use a green leaf handling system to load the boxes.




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The truck backs up, hooks up and the system is turned on so that belts move the leaves from the truck, up the first belt, up the second and finally into a box.


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 A loading system improves our efficiency and allows us to load each box with the same amount of leaf.  The system has a scale on it so we know exactly how many pounds of leaf are going into each box.  Farmers typcially put between 1800-2400 pounds of leaf in each box, depending on if we are loading lugs, cutters, leaves or tips. The lower leaves weigh less, so it takes more to fill a box.


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If we put to much leaf in the box the tobacco won't cure correctly.  Curing tobacco involves moving air throughout the box.  Uniform air movement equals uniform curing.  If the box is not loaded correctly than the air will pass through the less dense areas and go around the more dense areas. The box is on a system that moves back and forth so the tobacco can be evenly distributed. 




Metal pins are put into each box to hold the tobacco in place.  The bottom of the box is open, so without the pins all the tobacco would fall out when the box was moved.


A forklift carries the boxes to the barn, where they are pushed inside.














When all 8 boxes are inside, it's time to close the doors and start the curing process.  Say goodbye to the green leaf!


last box.jpg