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cut with a butcher knife, or a tobacco cutter, described in the previous chapter. Each person cutting takes three rows, splits the stalk down below the middle and straddles the plants, as they are cut, over a stick stuck up in the middle row, on the hill of the last plant cut in that row. From five to six plants are put on each stick, according to the size of the plants. In this way the tobacco is cut and housed without coming in contact with the dirt. The sticks are four and one-third feet in length, and when filled with tobacco are taken directly to the curing houses, or barns, and hung 12 inches apart on the tier poles. Very many planters put the tobacco on scaffolds in the field, where it remains for three or four days, and it is then taken to the barns. Trestles, five feet high and very much like those used by plasterers and carpenters, are employed to hold up the tier poles of the scaffold (Fig. 99). The tobacco, when taken from the scaffold, may be arranged on the tier poles in the barns as closely as eight inches. By scaffolding, one-third of the capacity of the barn may bo saved. The danger in scaffolding is that the tobacco may be caught in a rain. About one-third of the tobacco planters in the district now scaffold their tobacco before taking it to the barns.
The leaf, after being properly wilted on the stick, or scaffold, is carried to the barn on a frame, made just wide enough to take the sticks conveniently, as shown in Fig. 100.
Assorting and Stuffing.—When fully cured, the tobacco is assorted usually into six grades as follows: 1. Flyings, or sand leaves, called also spod, which constitute about 10 per cent of the crop. 2. Trash, 15 per cent. 3. Lugs, 15 per cent. 4. Bright leaf, 30 per cent. 5. Red leaf, 25 per cent. 6. Tips, or the short top and often greenish leaves, making up the remaining 5 per cent
The flying and sand leaves are used mainly for making smokers; the trash and lugs in a fine crop are used for cutters; the bright leaf is used for wrappers, or fine cutters; the red leaf for plug fillers, and the tips for making a low grade of plug for exportation.
All grades are tied in bundles of from 10 to 20 leaves, the smaller number of leaves to the bundle being used in the better grades. A tie an inch in diameter is a better standard and one preferred by the dealers.
Packing for Market.—When White Bnrley has been assorted and stripped in the fall, each grade is put in a separate bulk. This is prized (pressed into bogheads) at once and is known as the "winter prizing."
For "summer prizing" the tobacco is allowed to remain in bulk until the heated season approaches. It is then hung up in the barn (Fig. 102) for the June sweat, and reordered, so that the stems will crack when bent to the tips of the leaves. Some planters, instead of bulking the tobacco down after stripping, put the bundle on sticks and shingle it on a plank floor until May, and then hang it up in the barn to be properly seated and ordered. When prized in casks weighing 1100 pounds for the fine grades, and 1200 to 1400 pounds for the inferior grades in good keeping condition after the sweat, it will remain sweet for years.
The largest portion of the crop goes to Louisville, Cincinnati and Richmond, Virginia, and is prized in hogsheads 48 inches in diameter and 60 inches high, made generally of poplar staves five-eighths of an inch thick. It should always be remembered by the grower of tobacco, and especially of the White Burley tobacco, that a good crop badly handled will sell no better than a bad crop well handled. In packing the tobacco in a hogshead, the heads of the bundles are drawn closely together, but the tails are allowed to spread out like -a fan. This is different from the packing of heavy-ship*
ping tobacco, when every bundle is packed closely to the preceding one throughout its entire length, as shown in Fig. 93.
The best cutting leaf comes from Owen county, Kentucky, and from the hilly land in Clermont and Adams counties in Ohio. It is bright and thin and gumless. Mason and Bracken counties make a plug filler of fine fiber, but of good body. Fayette, and the counties in the bluegrass district, will make a tobacco of as fine fiber as that grown in Bracken and Mason counties, if topped high enough and planted closely enough. If a very wide space is left between the plants, the tobacco will grow too rank, and with large stems, which is not desirable for either plug filler or cutters; such is the product of the alluvial soils in the White Burley counties of Ohio. When well cured, however, such a product makes a very sweet chewing tobacco.
Manufacturing Leaf.—In a few of the counties in Virginia, notably Caroline, Spottsylvania, Hanover and Louisa, sun and air cured fillers for plug tobacco are produced which are said to be the sweetest for chewing purposes grown in the United States. There is no difference in the methods employed in cultivating this and the White Burley, or the shipping leaf. The main difference lies in the method of curing. The tobacco is scaffolded until the leaf is nearly cured in the sun, and it remains on the scaffold from four to seven days. It is then removed to the barn, where it hangs until it is entirely cured. When the weather is unfavorable, the tobacco gets but little sun. In such weather, plenty of space must be left between the sticks so that the plants will not touch each other.
No fire must be used after it is put in the barn, unless in the case of long-continued damp weather. It is then fired gently to keep it from molding. The rich, mahogany wrappers and fillers grown in Henry county, Virginia, and to some extent in one or two of the adjoining counties, are flue-cured in the same manner as yellow tobacco.
Missouri, for many years, grew a large quantity of excellent manufacturing tobacco in the eastern part of the State, on both sides of the Missouri river, but the product has greatly fallen off within recent years. The White Bnrley is now more extensively used in the United States, for the manufacturing of plug and fine cut, than all other varieties combined. West Virginia is gradually enlarging its area of manufacturing tobacco.