Tobacco’s roots don’t go far inside the ground, however mature plant can reach in height (depending on conditions and sort) three meters. During many years practice was bred more than 100 tobacco sorts and all of them were got from two main types. From Virginia tobacco and rural tobacco is bred majority of tobacco sorts that are used for making qualitative production. Except Virginia tobacco in tobacco manufacturing is used Maryland tobacco, Kentucky, Marlboro, Burly, half-Virginia and others.
Tobacco plant contains nicotine that in small quantities has stimulating effect. Also tobacco contains, of course, various aromatic and flavoring agents.Tobacco seeds are quite tiny. In one gram they are approximately 12000 but for getting one plant it is enough only one seed. I.e. for seeding one tobacco field is enough just few grams of seeds.
Tobacco must seeds couch. For this they are cropped in trays with bowls with dimensions of small cups and are stored in hothouses approximately 45 days after what they are set out on field. Transplanting itself requires caution, patience and definite skills as even easily damaged roots lead to death of entire plant. Distance between the seedlings depends on local conditions and on tobacco sort. If plants stand closely and, accordingly, shade each other, than leafs come out bright and thin. In that areas where is a lot of sun, for example, on Cube, tobacco plantations are covered with thin light sheds to gibe shadow. This method requires big costs but leafs come out perfect, especially suitable as covering, inside cigar leaf.
Tobacco is ready for cropping when leafs reach a definite ripeness. It happens in two-three months after planting in the soil when leafs acquire dark-green color. Cigar tobacco cropping is always made manually as first ripen leafs placed on the very bottom under all others. That is why leafs cropping takes place in several steps.
In fresh tobacco leaf water content is approximately 85 per cent. With the help of drying it must be led approximately to 25 per cents. During the drying leafs change their color on yellow and brown. During common air dry time and temperature are regulated with the help of curing barns ventilation. During the first stage of drying all fanlights are closed. Later, when leafs begin to acquire necessary color, curing barns are fully opening. Air-curing process is usually lasts from 5 to 10 weeks, depending on climatic conditions.
Another method of air-curing, is so called, Flure-curing was invented in USA. It is used mainly for pipe and cigar tobacco drying that must be especially bright, for example, Virginia t0bacco. Here the matter consists in the pipe that is lying across entire drying chamber and through which heat is blowing. The advantage of this method consists in that except getting specially light tobaccos, it also takes much less time. Entire process takes 4-5 days.
Chemical processes that take place in tobacco during drying process, continue during fermentation. As result of fermentation starch turns into sugar, content of nicotine lowers, proteins disintegrate as well for more small substances. Namely on this stage raw materials transform in tobacco that we know.
Dried tobacco is bind in small wisps which then are laid in big sheaves – per 4-5 tones. Shortly tobacco starts to accumulate temperature. To control it, during the laying in sheaves, from the middle and till the edge are inserted hollow bamboo sticks, in which, in turn, are inserted thermometers. Non-compliance with temperature conditions can lead to situation when aromatic oils that influence tobacco taste can burn out. When, in 4-5 days, temperature in the middle of the sheaf reaches 55-60 centigrade degree, sheaf is separated and tobacco is quickly cooled down after what it is again laid in the sheaves but in such way that tobacco that was previously in the middle would be closer to the margins and vice-versa. Temperature in sheaves starts to grow again but a little slower. When it reaches 60 centigrade degree, tobacco is again moved and it is continued till the temperature doesn’t stop to grow. Usually, for this are enough 5-6 laying.
After this tobacco is ready for packing in so called Serones, briquettes that weigh 60 kg that are transported to plants.
By Helen Kann