DEPARTMENTS


Down and Droughty

By Bob M. Montgomery


As I write this, growers and farmers are suffering under some of the most severe drought conditions this country has seen in 50 years. Across the nation, high temperatures and lack of rain have teamed up to pressure even the most prepared growers.

At best, drought conditions will reduce produce size; at worst, entire crops will be wiped out. While irrigation can mitigate the damage, all too often, water shortages make sufficient water application impossible. Even if you've built a highly efficient irrigation system, access to water could be limited and nonexistent under such severe circumstances.

When we project out and plan for our content, we couldn't have predicted that our frost protection and prevention issue would coincide with screamingly hot temperatures and massive water shortages! However, we work toward arming you to handle future problems with success, not report on what's going on outside your windows, which is why our special irrigation supplement in July now seems downright prophetic! If you missed it, you can review our take on irrigation efficiency, subsurface irrigation and water management here: http://bit.ly/growingirrigation2012.

By the time you're reading this, though, we hope the pattern has shifted out of the drought conditions, and growers have the rain they need. Of course, it's entirely possible we could have floods. Such is the chaotic nature of being a grower.

As noted, this issue is packed with information about frost protection and prevention, and whether you're a citrus grower looking ahead to possible winter damage or a berry grower looking way ahead to possible spring frosts, you need to be ready for those frequently changing weather patterns to protect your valuable crops.