SPARTA, Mich. (WZZM) -- Michigan apple farmers are hopeful their crop will turn out better this year, after a devastating season last year.

At this time in 2012, the apple season was running a month ahead of schedule, because of the unusually warm winter.

"[The] buds were swelling up, things were starting to break," recalls Jim May of May Farms.

Everything went downhill from there. Subsequent frost destroyed nearly 90 percent of the state's apple crop.

Fast forward to March 2013, and snow still covers May's orchard. The only things breaking are tree branches being trimmed.

May says he could use more snow and water, but he's just happy to have the little snow covering the ground.

"A year ago we were on pins and needles, worrying about what was going to happen, and the inevitable did happen," he says.

May says he lost 75 percent of his apple crop, and he's still seeing the effects. He says the trees have more energy this season because they didn't have to grow apples.

"So energy went into growing brush on the tree and wood, so more wood has to be cut out of the trees now," he explains.

May says there's another downside: paychecks for most of Michigan's 75 growers stopped in December, and he says they won't get paid again until fall.

"Normally we have income coming in year-round from apples," he says.

But now May's biggest concern is who will harvest his apples. He only needed 16 migrant workers last year, down from 28 in previous years. They worked fewer hours and finished picking two months early.

"These people have found other jobs. Will we get them back? I don't know," he says. "The average Joe Doe will not do this work. It's hard work, it's a craft."

May has until July to find a new crew. For now, he's just grateful the weather is providing what his apple trees need.

If the weather keeps cooperating, May expects a good crop this year. He also believes apple prices will come down from what they were last year, but we won't know the actual cost until August.