Some of Maine's progressive potato growers are moving toward sprinkler irrigation instead of relying on rainfall for moisture.
Maine Potato News reports that at least one 50-acre pivot with computerized controls has been installed in the last few years. Other growers are looking at the same thing.
The Maine Potato Board has been working with the state's legislature to get the red tape removed to enable growers to tap Maine's under ground aquifers. In addition, the Board has set up an Irrigation Water Management Plan Cost-share Program.
Growers figure they will only have to irrigate about two weeks out of the year but that difference in soil moisture will provide better quality potatoes and return 50-100 cwt more per acre. That makes the difference of breaking even for many Maine growers.
The irrigation impetus has been encouraged by McCain Foods who contracts with many growers in Aroostook County in northern Maine.