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Agronomic Services — News Release

TUESDAY, JAN. 14, 2003

Contact: Rick Morris
Regional agronomist, NCDA&CS Agronomic Division
(910) 866-5485

Water sampling is a good precaution for greenhouse tobacco

BLADENBORO — Producers of tobacco transplants who are preparing their greenhouses for the 2003 growing season should be aware that in spite of rains this fall, water deficits are still widespread, and the aquifers that supply our region have not recharged, possibly reducing water quality.

Because successful production of greenhouse tobacco depends on good water quality, the Agronomic Division of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services strongly encourages growers to collect samples of greenhouse source water now and send them in for solution analysis.

Once the laboratory receives the samples, results are usually available to growers in two to three days. With this analysis, growers can resolve any water quality problems and still be ready to seed their greenhouses the first week of February. Since growing transplants takes 55 to 60 days, growers will be able to set transplants out in the field around mid-April.

Solution analysis measures levels of plant nutrients and other important water characteristics. High alkalinity and low pH are characteristics that can interfere with plant growth. In the last year, about half of the source water samples tested from tobacco float bed operations in North Carolina have shown high alkalinity. Growers who have their water tested will receive recommendations regarding the suitability of the water source for transplant production and should have greater confidence about this aspect of production.

To collect a sample, use a clean, plastic bottle holding at least 16 ounces. Before filling the bottle, rinse it several times with the water source being collected. If the source is an old well, run the water for five to 10 minutes before collecting the sample. For a new well, run the water for an hour or two before sample collection.

Label each sample and fill out a solution analysis information form, available through the Agronomic Division office in Raleigh, the local regional agronomist, county extension centers, and agribusiness outlets. Be sure to use the code for source water (ST) given on the information form. Send the sample, the completed information form, and $4 per sample to: NCDA&CS Agronomic Division, Plant/Waste/Solution Section, 4300 Reedy Creek Road, Raleigh, NC 27607-6465.

Analysis results are mailed to growers and are also available at

If you have questions about how to collect samples or interpret your report, contact Rick Morris, NCDA&CS regional agronomist for Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Cumberland, and Robeson counties, at (910) 866-5485; or another local agricultural advisor.


Last Update August 1, 2007


NCDA&CS Agronomic Services Division, Colleen M. Hudak-Wise, Ph.D., Director
Mailing Address: 1040 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1040
Physical Address: 4300 Reedy Creek Road, Raleigh NC 27607-6465
Phone: (919) 733-2655; FAX: (919) 733-2837

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