The life of a grower is rarely easy, but this year has already put most growers across the country through the ringer. Weather woes have plagued most producers from the beginning of the year. A wet, hot spring in many areas wreaked havoc with cherries, plums and other sensitive fruit; a late cold snap after an early, warm spring devastated apple crops in many areas; and months of drought have proved crushing across the south and central United States.

It’s been a heck of a year already.

On a recent trip to Wisconsin for a visit to Case IH headquarters, I saw a clear indication of how on edge folks have been about the weather. The area around Racine – like so many places – had been weeks and weeks with scorching temperatures and little to no rain, so when a storm front moved in with some significant rain, everyone celebrated. People visibly relaxed while standing out in the rain near cornfields, soaking it in as much as the soil drank it up.

As I write this, it’s been a stretch of above-average temperatures across the Northeast, which has extended the growing season a bit, and some much appreciated rain is perking thing up a bit. Also, as we prepare this issue for you, Tropical Storm Isaac continues its trek into the Gulf of Mexico and into the central interior of the nation. Feast or famine, but hopefully some of that water brings relief to our grower friends in Arkansas, Oklahoma and all points north. The storm track should bring significant rain as far north as Chicago.

However, outside the scope of Tropical Storm Isaac, harvest wrap-up has already begun in the North, and certainly isn’t too far behind around the rest of the country. Whether your operation’s had a good or bad season, you still need to look ahead to next season, and a huge part of that includes season-ending maintenance. Even though your operation may have not have a bumper crop, it’s still essential to do all the things you can to strengthen the soil and your plants so they can, hopefully, weather whatever 2013 throws at them and you.

Bob M. Montgomery

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