Bull. Spec. CORESTA Congress, Brighton, 1998, p. 75, AP2

Mechanisation of topping and sucker inhibition in the production of Virginia tobacco

ANITTA, Bergerac, France
Objectives:Since 1995, as a result of increased planted area, Virginia tobacco growers in France have looked for ways of saving labour by mechanising the topping and sucker inhibition operations.Methods: A self-propelled machine was designed with the assistance of a manufacturer and further developed in cooperation with ANITTA in order to establish the volumes and concentrations of suckercide to be used with this technique. Preliminary conclusions:This machine allows one person to achieve in one run, either the topping and inhibition, or one of these, in 1-2 hours labour per hectare; manual topping and inhibition usually require 40-50 hours labour per hectare. The cost of this equipment is such that it requires a minimum of 25 ha for a three-year return on investment; this presently restricts its market to collaborating producers, mainly in Agronomic Equiment Cooperatives. However the inhibition apparatus, without the mechanical topping, allowing mechanical inhibition for all types of tobaccos, dark air-cured, Burley or Virginia, is getting more popular, as it requires only 4 ha of tobacco for a three-year return on investment.