Tobacco-Harvest and storage
Tobacco will be ready for harvest about 3 months after planting. Ripe leaves having greenish-yellow colour are harvested. The mature leaf at harvest time shows a slight yellowing.
The ripe leaves have a velvety feel and have lost much of their stickiness. The leaf will have a tendency to lie horizontally or bend slightly down the plant. The leaf-tips are slightly dry.
The ripe leaves are only harvested. As a general rule, the leaves are harvested from the bottom. The first harvest is done soon after topping. Topping is the removal of flowers.
On an average, not more than three leaves should be harvested at a time. Harvesting must be done on a clear weather day. Immediately after rains or irrigation the crop should not be harvested.
Under normal condition, harvesting is once in a week. The leaves should be pluck against the direction of the sun for better judgment of matured leaf colour.
While picking, the midribs should not be bent down, but they have to be bent side-ways. A well-matured leaf will snap crisply with a characteristic sound.
The leaves are to be carried carefully without pressing and placed carefully in a wide basket with tips upward. The basket has to be taken to the tying shed as early as possible to minimize wilting in the field.