Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

From the Editor: Time keeps on slipping into the future

March 20, 2024  By Alex Barnard

Photo courtesy of Johnny's Seeds.

Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe we’re already into 2024. Here’s hoping your holidays were merry and bright amidst the short, grey days of December.

We have a bit of a running joke among the ag editors in the office, where one of us will express disbelief that a month is already ending, only for the rest of us to become aware of the date and jokingly bemoan the unexpected passage of time. It happens almost like clockwork, despite all of us knowing that time never stops moving forward.

It’s likely a result of constantly working a month or more ahead mentally, the days and weeks passing quickly from November into December as we prepare our January and February issues. It can be challenging to ground yourself in the present when you’re writing words that won’t be read for a month or more. (Note: The irony is not lost on the editor that this is being posted nearly three months into 2024.)


Farmers will likely be familiar with this challenge, given their focus on the upcoming season (or the immediate task to be completed mid-season) as well as several years into the farm’s future. Time operates on a granular scale during a growing season, with each day being weighed in terms of what needs to be accomplished, whether it’s planting, scouting, spraying or harvesting. 

But elements like weather, pest pressure and availability of labour also factor in when planning the days and weeks ahead. It’s a balancing act that often leaves you feeling like there’s not enough time to do it all, or that you’re waiting for conditions to improve to take necessary action. After all, in agriculture, not accomplishing certain tasks at specific times can mean diminished yields, severe environmental, pest or disease damage, or crop loss. 

Sometimes, there is no “later” – frost and hail don’t adhere to a schedule, nor do they give much notice. That unpredictability is one of the reasons for the long hours farmers work during the growing season, and creates a challenge for many growers and producers in maintaining their mental health.

As many growers take land stewardship seriously, and as climate adaptation and maintaining or remediating agricultural land are key considerations for the future, it’s also essential to focus on what your plans are for the next growing season and five to ten years (or more) down the line. What you do today will have a material impact on the future, but some of this is intangible or unmeasurable in directly quantifiable ways – for instance, yield or revenue. 

Beneficial practices like crop rotation, low/no-till and cover crops can be good for the operation in the grander sense, but their effects may not be clear-cut or consistent. Unless that long-term perspective is employed, it can be easy to let these practices slide in favour of a more immediate payoff. But following best management practices in the moment will save headaches down the road. You’ll thank yourself later.

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