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KNOXVILLE, Tenn.– Tennessee’s burley tobacco crop will be smaller than average but should bring good prices this fall at market, a University of Tennessee plant specialist said Friday.

 “We were anticipating a strong market to begin with,” said Dr. Donald Fowlkes of the UT Agricultural Extension Service, “but the short crop will make the market even stronger.”

 Fowlkes blamed the below average harvest on “a generally adverse growing season.”

 The Tennessee Agricultural Statistics Service has estimated the crop at 1,800 pounds per acre — about 200 pounds below average.

 “Six weeks ago, it was looking real bad, but then the crop improved quite noticeably,” Fowlkes said. “It’s below normal, but not as bad as we once thought.”

 The statistics service reported last week that the burley harvest was 50 percent completed, compared to an average 57 percent at the same time the previous five years, Fowlkes said.

 Agriculture officials in Kentucky reported this week their burley harvest was behind schedule with only 30 percent completed.

 Contact: Dr. Donald Fowlkes (423-974-7208)