TobaccoChek® Portable Tobacco Moisture Meter
Measuring and controlling moisture in tobacco is critical to maintaining quality of the tobacco from packaging to processing. Growers and buyers also have economic factors to consider. The higher the moisture content the heavier the tobacco weighs which increases the cost to purchase. Tobacco may also have to be dried prior to processing if it is too high in moisture content.
For over three hundred years the accepted method to predict moisture content when packaging or selling has been by physically touching the tobacco. Growers and buyers relied on their physical senses to subjectively predict the moisture content of tobacco. Today’s demands on the industry have rendered this method inefficient.
Tobacco manufacturers and leaf processors use instrumentation to predict the moisture content of tobacco. At the quality assurance level, the dry oven method has been the accepted standard of predicting the moisture content of tobacco. However, the dry oven method is not suitable for use on a broad scale basis at the leaf purchasing level because of equipment cost, training required to operate equipment and time required to process samples.
Many attempts have been made to provide portable instrumentation to the field that could accurately and reliably predict moisture content.. In the early 1990’s an exhaustive search began by tobacco companies to develop instrumentation that could be used in the field to predict the moisture content of tobacco.
Only recently has there been a commercially viable and cost effective portable unit available to the market that meets these demands , TobaccoChek® Digital Tobacco Moisture Meter.
For the past two years, TobaccoChek® portable electronic tobacco moisture meters have been used in the United States by major tobacco companies, leaf buying companies, the AMS grading service, universities, county extension agents, tobacco cooperatives, auction houses and growers for predicting the moisture content of burley and flue-cured tobacco. Additionally, for over three years a major worldwide tobacco company and overseas leaf dealers have been using TobaccoChek® moisture meters to test the moisture content of oriental tobacco.
"After testing thousands of samples over the past four years, the TobaccoChek® moisture meter has a proven track record of predicting moisture content throughout the entire moisture range established by the tobacco industry," says J.E. Daggett, President of Dagmar Enterprises LLC, the exclusive worldwide distributor of TobaccoChek® moisture meters. "The TAUS committee has also conducted several successful independent tests of the TobaccoChek® unit," adds Daggett.
High Dollar Warehouse owner and 165 acre flue-cured tobacco grower Ronald Stainback and his sons Ronnie and Roger, of Middleburg, NC, have lots of experience with TobaccoChek® moisture meters. They’ve been using "two TobaccoChek’s we own, plus two or three Philip Morris provided us to check moisture on all bales of tobacco purchased by PM/ leaf buying companies for three seasons now" says Ronnie Stainback.
In 2000, the Stainbacks sold over 9 million designated pounds of flue cured tobacco in their High Dollar Warehouse. Stainback adds, "We take a moisture test of every bale sold to be sure they are under the 18% moisture allowed in the bale. If the bale is over 18% moisture, the farmer’s got to break up the bale and that’s expensive. PM says the TobaccoChek® readings have been very close (within 1 to 2 points) to what they’ve measured with very sophisticated equipment at their plants."
Stainback concludes, " Overall, we are very pleased with our TobaccoChek® moisture meters, which are vital to meeting tobacco buyers standards. We’ve found them to be very portable, rugged and accurate in measuring moisture in lots of baled tobacco."
TobaccoChek® moisture meters are easy to operate and powered by a standard 9V battery. Three separate scales have been developed for flue-cured, burley and oriental tobacco. No special training is required. Unit operating instructions are included.