Tobacco production and production technologies for improving productivity & quality (Agronomic Practices)

Tobacco is an important commercial crop cultivated in an area of 0.4 million ha producing annually around 700 million kg of cured leaf out of which 260 M kg is Flue-Cured Virginia tobacco (cigarette type). India is the 3rd largest producer of tobacco in the world after China and Brazil. Majority of the states in the Indian union territory grow one type or the other to a greater or lesser extent, significantly influencing the economy and prosperity of the farming community. Flue-Cured Virginia (FCV), Bidi,  Hookah and Chewing, Cigar filler, Cigar Wrapper, Cheroot, Burley, Oriental, HDBRG, Lanka, are the different types of tobacco grown in the country. Tobacco is consumed in the form of cigarettes, cigars, cheroots, bidis, pipe and hookah. It is chewed in the form of Surti, Zarda, Qiwamquid, Masheri, Kharamasala.

Also, tobacco is inhaled in the form of snuff. The crop provides employment to about 36 million people directly or indirectly including 6 million farmers in the country. India ranks 5th largest exporter of tobacco in the world after Brazil, USA, Malawi and Turkey. The crop fetches annually around Rs.1,713 crores as foreign exchange through exports and over Rs. 9,100 crores as excise revenue. An estimated ~250 million people in the country use tobacco in different forms.  


Flue-cured Virginia tobacco

In Andhra Pradesh, Flue-Cured Virginia (FCV) tobacco is grown in an area of 1,25,000 ha in East Godavari, West Godavari, Khammam, Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam, Nellore, Karimnagar and Warangal districts with a total production of 170 M kg of the leaf. While in Karnataka, FCV tobacco is cultivated in 85,000 ha of the area with a production of 87 M kg leaf. It is also grown in a smaller area in the states of Maharastra and Orissa. The recommended production technologies for FCV tobacco cultivation in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are presented in Table 1


Table 1: Crop production practices for FCV tobacco in India

Cultural Practice Andhra Pradesh Karnataka
Traditional Black Soils Northern Light



Light Soils

Karnataka Light soils
Variety Gauthami, Hema VT-1158, Hemadri and Siri Kanchan Gauthami, Hema, VT-1158 and Kanthi Kanchan, Thrupthi, Thrupthi, Swarna, Bhavya,
Preparatory Cultivation Deep ploughing in Summer,2-3 ploughings between July and September Deep ploughing and Discing with tractor with the onset of monsoon Deep ploughing between July and September Deep ploughing inMarch and April
Organic manures (tones/ha) FYM @ 7.5 Sunnhemp green manuring or application of FYM of FPC @ 10-12 or sheep or cattle penning FYM @ 5 FYM @ 8-10
Date of Planting Mid October to mid November Mid-Sept. to mid- Oct. in upper NLS and mid-Oct. to mid-Nov. in lower NLS Mid October to Mid. November 1st Week of May to Middle of June
Spacing 70X50 cm 100X60 cm 70X50 cm 100X60 cm


Planting method Flat planting Furrow planting followed by ridging on 40th day Flat planting followed by ridging / earthing up Flat planting followed by ridging
Method of Fertilization Plant row- plough furrow Dollop Plant row- plough furrow Dollop
Fertilizer dose (N: P2O5: K2O kg/ha) 45:0:0








Irrigations Crop is grown on conserved soil moisture 8-10 One life saving irrigation @40-45 days of planting Grown in

S-W monsoon conditions

Intercultural operations 40  day after planting 2 or 3 times up to 40 days and ridging on 40th


2 or 3 times before 40 days 2 or 3 times before 40 days
Level of topping Judicious topping at first flower opening Topping at flower bud initiation at 24 leaves Bud topping Bud topping
Sucker control Decanol or Royalten 4% or Pendimethalin @ 0.5 – 0.6% Decanol or Royalten 4% or Pendimethalin@ 0.5 – 0.6% followed by hand desuckering Decanol or Royalten 4% or Pendimethalin@ 0.5 – 0.6% Decanol or Royalten 4% or Pendimethalin@ 0.5 – 0.6%
Harvesting Priming mature leaves Priming mature leaves Priming mature leaves Priming mature leaves
Curing method Flue-curing Flue-curing Flue-curing Flue-curing
Grading Farm grading Plant position grading Farm grading Plant position grading



Note: Pendimethalin should not be used as weedicide.



Bidi and Pikka tobacco: Bidi tobacco is cultivated in Gujarat and Karnataka in 1.15 lakh ha area while Pikka tobacco is an important tobacco cultivated in Orissa for chewing and cheroot purposes. Important production technologies recommended for Bidi tobacco cultivation in Gujarat and Karnataka and Pikka tobacco in Orissa are furnished in Table 2.


Table 2: Crop production practices for Bidi and Pikka tobacco in India


Cultural Practice Bidi Tobacco Pikka Tobacco
Variety  Anand119, Anand 2, GT-4, GT-5,GT-7,GT-9,GTH- 1, GTH-1 (MR) Karnataka A-119,
NPN 190, Spoorthy  Bhavya Sree  NBD-43
Orissa Pyruvithanam, J.P.1, NG-74, II-
Preparatory Cultivation Deep Ploughing in summer Deep Ploughing in
Deep Ploughing in summer
Organic Manures (tonnes/ha) Green manuring or FYM
@12.5 or poultry manure
or Azolla
FYM @10 FYM @10
Date of planting August 10-25   August 2nd Fortnight of  August
Spacing 90 x 60 cm 100 x 75 cm 75 x 50 cm
Planting method Flat planting Flat planting Flat planting & ridging
Method of fertilization Plant row – plough furrow method Deep placement before planting Band placement
Fertiliser dose (N: P2O5: K2O kg/ha) 160:0:0 125:60:40 80:40:40
Irrigations As and when required 3-4 irrigations Nil
Intercultural operations As and when required 2-3 times Two hoeings & hand weeding
Level of topping 18-24 leaves 16-20 leaves 10-12 leaves
Sucker control Decanol 4-6% & hand  removal Khudaband 4-6% or  Stomp 1.5% Decanol 4% & hand
Harvesting When leaves develop  spangles When maximum no.  of leaves develop  spangles Stalk cut method
Curing method Sun – curing Sun – curing Sun – curing
Grading Bukha, Geran, Galia,Lankada I sort, II sort etc. —-



Burley, Natu, and Lanka tobaccos: In Andhra Pradesh, Burley, Natu and Lanka tobaccos are cultivated to the extent of 45,000 ha. The Important recommended production technologies for these tobaccos are given in Table 3.



Table 3: Crop production practices for Burley, Natu and Lanka tobaccos in Andhra Pradesh.

Cultural Practice Burley Irrigated Natu Rainfed Natu Lanka
Variety Burley-21 and Banket A1 Kommugudem,Peddavithanam,


Viswanath,Natu Spl.,Prabhat, WAF,Bhairavi
Lanka Spl.
Preparatory Cultivation Deep Ploughing in summer Deep ploughing in summer Deep ploughing
in summer
ploughing in summer
Organic manures (tonnes/ha) FYM @ 10 FYM @ 10 –12 or green manuring FYM @ 15 FYM @10
Date of planting Mid-July to mid-August Second to last week of October Mid-Oct. To 1 week of November Last week of Oct. to 15th Nov.
Spacing 90 x 45 cm 60 x 60 cm 90 x 90 cm 60 x 60 cm
Planting method Ridge planting Flat planting followed by ridging Flat planting Flat planting followed by ridging
Method of fertilization Dollop Dollop Plough furrow Dollop
Fertiliser dose (N: P2O5: K2O kg/ha) 125:50:50 350:50:100 80:50:50 300:50:50
Irrigations Monsoon crop 6-8 Rainfed 3-4
Interculture 2 – 3 times 2 – 3 times 2-4 times 3-4 times
Level of topping No topping 14-16 leaves 14-16 leaves 12-14 leaves
Sucker control —- Decanol 6% Decanol 6% Decanol 6%
Harvesting Priming Stalk cut (katta) or priming (Thoranam method) Priming Stalk cut
Curing method Air-curing Air-curing Air-curing Air-curing
Grading Flyings,bottom, middle and top Melmi & Gulla Bright, brown, dark brown, green and  perished leaf Kotaku,  Baraku Mattasam


Cigar & Cheroot, Chewing, Hookah and HDBRG Tobaccos: Chewing, cigar and cheroot tobaccos are the major types grown in Tamil Nadu. Chewing tobacco is mainly grown in West Bengal, Bihar, U.P. & Assam, while hookah tobacco is cultivated in U.P.,

Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana and Assam. HDBRG tobacco is mainly cultivated in black soils of Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh with 3 – 4 irrigation which is used in cigarette blending.

Table 4: Crop production practices for in Cigar & Cheroot, Chewing, Hookah and HDBRG Tobaccos in India

Cultural Practice Cigar & Cheroot -Tamil Nadu Chewing-
Bihar, Tamil Nadu & West Bengal
Andhra Pradesh
Variety O-K.1, Bhavani  Spl., Olor-10, I-737, Sangami Bihar : Vaishali Spl., Sona, PT-76, Lichchavi

West Bengal:  Podali, Chama

Tamil Nadu: Bhagyalakshmi, Meenakshi,

Abirami, Kaviri, Meenakshi (CR)


and Dharla Sonar-Motihari, Manasi
Preparatory Cultivation 4-6 ploughings
in Kharif
Deep ploughing in summer Deep ploughing in summer Deep
ploughing in summer
Organic manures (tonnes/ha) FYM @ 25 or sheep –
FYM @ 25 FYM @ 20 FYM @ 10
Date of planting Mid-Oct., to Mid-Nov. Bihar & Bengal: Mid Sept. to mid  Oct.

T.N. Last week  of Oct. to end of Nov.

Mid-Oct. to 1st week of November 1  week of Oct., 1st week of November
Spacing Cigar: 70 x 50 cm

Cheroot: 60 x  45 cm

Bihar: 90 X 75cm
Bengal: 90 x 45 cm
T.N. 65 x 65cm
Jati: 90 x
90 cmMotihari: 60 x 45 cm
80 x 50 cm
Planting method Ridge planting Ridge planting Flat planting  followed by  ridging Flat planting
Method of fertilization Dollop Dollop Pocketing PRPF
Fertiliser dose (N: P2O5: K2O kg/ha) 100:50:100 Bihar:250:60:60
Bengal: 120:50:75
120:50:75 100:50:50
Irrigations 20 Bihar :3
Bengal: 2
Tamil Nadu: 22
2 2-3


Intercultural operations 2 – 3 times 2 – 3 times 4 – 5 times 2-3 times
Level of topping 14-16 leaves Bihar: 14 –16  leaves
Bengal: 8-10  leaves
Tamil Nadu: 10  leaves
8 – 10 leaves 20 leaves
Sucker control Decanol or Royalten 6% Decanol or Royalten 6% Decanol or Royalten 6% Decanol or
Harvesting Stalk – cut Stalk – cut Priming Priming
Curing method Sun-curing Sun-curing Air-curing Sun-curing
Grading Plant position (Rasi & Kruz) Bihar:1  , 2  , 3 & 4th grades  T.N: Rasi & Kruz Panpatta
No.1, Niras &Jalapatta
Bottom,middle &top primings





“TOBACCO PRODUCTION AND PROTECTION TECHNOLOGIES FOR …”Central Tobacco Research Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 May. 2017 <>.



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