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A portable curing frame is provided particularly adapted for use with an automated tobacco harvester. The curing frame includes a substantially rectangular frame member including a series of slotted tracks, in the form of slotted tubes, specially designed for receiving a notched portion of the plant stalks. The slotted track is substantially continuous and thereby allows infinitely variable spacing between the plants and optimization of ventilation for air curing. Legs are also provided on the portable curing frame. The legs are displaceable between a retracted position allowing storage of the frames and loading of the frames with tobacco plants and an extended position for supporting the frames and inverted plants above the ground in the field. A locking mechanism is provided to positively retain the legs in both the retracted and extended positions. A triggering mechanism is also provided to release the locking mechanism and allow the legs to be displaced by gravity from the retracted position to the extended position. The tobacco-laden curing frame may be covered by plastic or other material and left in the field to cure. Once curing is completed the cured plants may be mechanically removed from the frames for optimum speed in handling the plants and bringing the tobacco to market.


University of Kentucky Research Foundation, Lexington, Ky.

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