Bulletin #1225, Irrigation Resources for Maine Farmers

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By Ellen Mallory, Extension Specialist and Professor of Sustainable Agriculture, University of Maine Cooperative Extension

For information about UMaine Extension programs and resources, visit extension.umaine.edu.
Find more of our publications and books at extension.umaine.edu/publications/.

This bulletin is for farmers interested in learning more about irrigation. It is a curated list of existing online resources, organized by topic. These include general guides, planning checklists, suppliers, and consultants, drought and water management, water topics, types of irrigation systems, economics, irrigation management, and crop-specific resources.

This online resource directory was compiled originally as part of the Maine Climate Adaptation Practices professional development program, funded by Northeast SARE (project SNE21-007-ME). Contributors include Ellen Mallory, Extension Specialist and Professor of Sustainable Agriculture, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Tom Molloy, Sustainable Agriculture Professional, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Rebecca Long, Agriculture, and Food System Professional, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Jason Lilley, Assistant Extension Professor, Sustainable Agriculture and Maple Industry Educator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension,  Mark Hedrich, Nutrient Management Coordinator, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Sarah Robinson, Executive Director, Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District, and, Caleb Goosen, Crop and Conservation Specialist, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.

The directory is maintained by Ellen Mallory, of University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Please contact Ellen with updates and corrections (ellen.mallory@maine.edu).

Abbreviations Used

ME DACF = Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry
NOAA = National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NRCS = Natural Resources Conservation Service
UMaine = University of Maine
USDA = United States Department of Agriculture
USGS = United States Geological Survey
UVM = University of Vermont

Table of Contents

General Guides

Planning Checklists

  • Planning To Irrigate: A Checklist, North Dakota State University. Checklist of the steps to follow once you’ve determined that you want to install an irrigation system, with links to resources specific to Michigan and Indiana.
  • Checklist for Planning Irrigation Systems, Michigan State and Purdue Universities. Checklist of the steps to follow once you’ve determined that you want to install an irrigation system, with links to resources specific to Michigan and Indiana.

Suppliers and Consultants

Drought & Water Monitoring

Monitoring Water and Drought

  • Monitoring Water Conditions, ME DACF. Directory of online resources with drought and weather information. Includes some of the resources listed here, as well as others.
  • Drought Management Resources, Maine Public Utilities Commission. Directory of online resources with drought and weather information.Includes some of the resources listed here, as well as others.
  • U.S. Drought Monitor (includes Maine Drought Monitor), a joint effort of the National Drought Mitigation Center, USDA, and NOAA. Maps are updated each Thursday to show the location and intensity of drought across the country using a five-category system, from Abnormally Dry (D0) conditions to Exceptional Drought (D4). The website also includes a list of tutorials on what the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) is and how it can be used.
  • Northeast Regional Climate Center, based at Cornell University, provides weekly updates on current conditions and impacts. Includes Northeast Drought Early Warning Signs Dashboard.
  • National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), a multi-agency partnership that includes NOAA. Maintains the Drought Early Warning System (DEWS) with state maps of drought conditions.
  • Water Deficit Calculator, Climate Smart Farming. Cornell University. Allows users to estimate soil water content within a crop’s effective root zone at specific locations to inform irrigation decisions.
  • Water Watch, USGS. Map of real-time streamflow compared to historical streamflow for the day of the year. This link takes you to the map of Maine.

Drought Resources


Rules and Regulations

Irrigation Water Quality

Water Sources

Types of Irrigation Systems

  • Irrigation for Fruit and Vegetable Production, Penn State Extension. Good list of critical periods of irrigation for specific crops as well as an overview of all the types of irrigation systems for vegetable and fruit production. Skip the Pennsylvania-specific info (rainfall, laws).
  • Getting Started with Drip Irrigation: Components and Costs, UVM Extension. A fact sheet that includes a breakdown of component costs for a drip irrigation system. Information is from 2018 so specific costs may need updating.
  • Irrigation Systems, Greenhouse Best Management Practices Manual, UMass Amherst. An overview of irrigation systems for greenhouse and floriculture crops. The guide also has useful info on water supply and sources, water analysis, water quality, and preventing groundwater contamination.
  • Micro-Sprinkler Irrigation for Orchards, Colorado State University Extension. Fact sheet that outlines the use and considerations for installing micro-sprinklers in orchards for frost protection and irrigation.


Irrigation Management

Crop Critical Periods

Irrigation Scheduling & Calculators

  • Irrigation Management Calculators from Washington State Univ., Oregon State Univ., and Univ. of Idaho. A set of over 50 online calculators to compute a variety of factors associated with irrigation management including application rates for different types of irrigation systems, pipeline pressure loss, irrigation frequency, water depth, nozzle flows or diameters, etc.
  • Irrigation Scheduling Methods, Univeristy of Georgia Extension bulletin.

Soil Moisture Monitoring

Feel and Appearance Method

Sensors and Automation

Water Deficit Tool

Efficiency & Water Conservation

Crop Specific Resources


 Lowbush Blueberries

Mixed Vegetable and Fruit

Home Garden

Additional Resources

Information in this publication is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.

© 2023

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