Wagga Nicotine Tobacco Crop Will Not Help Smokers

19 February 1947 Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga)

Part of more than two acres of tobacco grown on the Wagga Sewerage Farm is about to be harvested - but it will not help smokers' worries. 

It is nicotine tobacco, grown to produce nicotine sulphate, one of the most important insecticides known.

Nicotine sulphate is widely used in controlling a variety of pests in vegetable and fruit crops, and is also used as a drench to rid sheep of internal worm parasites. 

The crop is being grown by Mr. H. E, Adlington

The supply of nicotine sulphate from overseas is far below Australia's requirements, and the Commonwealth Government is interested in encouraging the growth of nicotine tobacco here. 

Yesterday Mr. Adlington's crop was inspected by Mr. M. V. O'Reilly, field officer for Drug Houses of Australia, and Mr. Harold Chaffey, officer-in-charge of the tobacco section of the Department of Commerce and Agriculture. 

Portion of Mr. Adlington's crop is ready for harvest, and when dried will go to Melbourne. 

Drug Houses of Australia has contracted to take the whole of these tobacco crops at 9d a lb. 

3000lb. Crop 

Mr. O'Reilly said that Mr. Adlington's crop would probably yield 3000 lbs. an acre dry weight.   

Mr. Adlington has resided in Wagga for more than 20 years, and has previously experimented with the growing of tobacco for smoking. 

The land was found to be too heavy for the growth of smoking tobacco and after about nine years Mr. Adlington decided to experiment with nicotine tobacco. 

Mr. Chaffey said yesterday that the land was admirably stated for growing nicotine tobacco.

It was favored by being watered with the sewerage water.    

Anywhere where the soil is heavy is ideal for the growth of nicotine tobacco, but in the Wagga climate irrigation is needed, he said. 

The crops require 'pushing' with water all the time. 

The growing of nicotine tobacco in Australia is in its infancy. 

Trial Plots Satisfactory Last year small trial plots were grown in New South Wales and Victoria with satisfactory results. 

This year, said Mr. O'Reilly, the plots have been extended to about 250 acres In Victoria, 100 acres, in N.S.W. and 100 acres in Queensland. 

About 30 or 40 acres are being grown this year in the Tumut district without irrigation.

 "Tumut is a very good district for the growth of this tobacco," said Mr. O'Reilly. 

Mr. Chaffey said that experiments had shown that the tobacco could be grown successfully in Australia but it remained to be seen whether landowners would regard it as a commercial proposition to grow tobacco instead of various vegetables. 

Price Raised Last year the price allowed for tobacco was only 6d a lb., but it was raised to 9d. this year in an attempt to interest growers. 

Several people visited the farm yesterday to hear comments by Messrs. O'Reilly and Chaffey. 

These included Mr. A. J. Pinn, manager of the Wagga Experiment Farm, and Messrs. K. Symes (plant breeder) and J. Sutherland (agronomist) at the Wagga Experiment Farm.