Tobacco diseases affect tobacco yields, quality and profitability. In North Carolina alone, they accounted for an estimated loss of $109 million in 2008.
The primary tobacco diseases, such as Granville wilt, black shank, bacterial wilt and fusarium wilt, can gain entry to previously healthy plants after nematodes provide an entry point. Nematodes are microscopic roundworms that feed on roots, causing permanent damage and leaving roots susceptible to these diseases.
Tobacco is an excellent nematode host, resulting in disease-ridden crops losing up to 1,500 pounds per acre. Tobacco is highly susceptible to nematode damage, and as such, high priority must be given to nematode control and disease management each time tobacco is grown.
For more information on the economic impact of disease within tobacco production, go to the 2008 Tobacco Disease Annual Report .