Time To Start Thinking About Next Year

Prairie Gleanings

We've got to shake this drought off and get excited for 2013.

Published on: September 11, 2012

They say San Diego has the perfect climate. Year round, the mercury hovers in the 70-degree range. Residents brag they keep a light sweater in the car for those slightly chilly mornings.

I’ve got news for San Diego, they can keep their perfect weather. I’m not interested.

I’m a firm believer in four seasons. Seasons signify a passage of time. In years like this, winter cannot come soon enough. With winter, growing-season wounds begin to heal and spring comes with infinite hope.

This autumn, many are coping with dismal yields. Rather than setting your farm’s course based on how many bushels are in the bin, many will be forced to rely on crop insurance to dictate next year’s terms. It will be a frustrating exercise in patience.

For me, fall is a chance to sit back and reflect on an extremely busy summer. The drought has taken center stage for several months now. Still, next year, many of the big-ticket issues will return to the top of the concern list. Weed resistance is at the top of that list. Glyphosate resistant Palmer amaranth is now in Madison County. That’s getting pretty close to central Illinois.

If the Farm Progress Show is any indication, it appears interest in cover crops is growing. That’s wonderful news. Sure, they’re more management, but they’re great for the environment and the bottom line.

Water quality is still a big deal. With the Nutrient Research and Education Council’s passage, dollars should start flowing back into research for this topic. The EPA has a keen eye on this issue. I hope Illinois becomes a leader with NREC.

There’s a lot to think about for 2013. Like a quarterback shaking off an interception, let’s put this crop away and get focused on next year. The biggest issue of all – population growth – will require the best efforts of this country’s best farmers.

If you’re a young farmer, now you’ve got your “well, I remember back in 2012” story. If you're well into your career, take this opportunity to show the next generation how to bounce back from a bad year. And, above all, be thankful that you’re coming back to do it again next year.