Maine is a state known for its long, cold winters and short growing season, but changes in climate are disrupting this norm.
Many growers around the state have already started to experience the trend towards longer growing seasons. This includes slightly warmer summers and slightly milder winters. Some farmers are now able to grow crops year-round by using high tunnel houses. However, with this opportunity also comes a cost. Warmer temperatures make it easier for existing pests to thrive and new, invasive pests to arrive and survive. In addition, both drought and heavy rain events are becoming more frequent. Maine, along with many other areas of the Northeast, is experiencing increasing cases of “not enough” and “too much” rain. This is causing problems with water availability and soil erosion in fields and lanes.
Fortunately, Extension specialists and scientists at the University of Maine are working to address these problems. Research conducted at Highmoor Farm is focusing on solutions specific to Maine. Highmoor Farm is one of five research farms within the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station. Located in Monmouth, Maine, the 278 acre farm contains orchards and fields for vegetable and small fruit research. The research covers a range of topics. Projects include mulching for erosion control and integrated pest management for apple growth. Scientists are evaluating what new fruit varieties grow best in Maine and what methods improve post-harvest quality. Researchers also educate growers on ways to manage risk and reduce the impacts of extreme weather events and climate change.
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Available resources from this tour:
- Changes in Climate Variability
- Growing Opportunities in Maine
- Turning Numbers into Knowledge
- Planning for Unexpected Weather
- Why Does My Farm Need Crop Insurance?
- Searching for Agricultural Water
- Working around Ledge
- Testing for Tree Fruit Vulnerability
- Saving the Orchard from Spring Frosts
- Spotted Wing Drosophila Impact on Growers
- Climate Change Trade-offs for Maine Farmers
- Identifying Crop Varieties for Maine
- Season Extension in a Shifting Climate
- Reduced Tillage in a Warming Climate
- An Unexpected Benefit from Reduced Tillage
- A Solution to Working Wet Fields
- Addressing New Rainfall Patterns
- NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information
- Maine Risk Management and Crop Insurance Education Program
- USDA | Risk Management Tools and Programs
- Irrigation Pays in Protecting Vegetable Crop Revenues in the Northeastern U.S.
- U.S. Drought Monitor Tutorial
- New England Tree Fruit Management Guide
- Growing Fruit Trees in Maine
- USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map for Maine
- USDA APHIS | Pest and Disease Identification
- University of Maine | Pest and Plant Disease Photo Gallery
- Maine.gov Invasive Pests
- UMass Extension Vegetable Notes Newsletters
- New England Pest Scouting Network
- USDA NRCS | Growing All Seasons: High Tunnels
- USDA NRCS | Environmental Quality Incentives Program