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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Can subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) be a competitive irrigation system in the Great Plains region for commodity crops

item Lamm, Freddie
item Colaizzi, Paul
item Bordovsky, James
item Trooien, Todd
item Medina, Juan Enciso
item Porter, Dana
item Rogers, Danny
item O'brien, Daniel

Submitted to: Decennial National Irrigation Symposium
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/2010
Publication Date: 12/5/2010
Citation: Lamm, F.R., Colaizzi, P.D., Bordovsky, J.P., Trooien, T.P., Medina, J., Porter, D.O., Rogers, D.H., O'Brien, D.M. 2010. Can subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) be a competitive irrigation system in the Great Plains region for commodity crops. In: Proceedings of the 5th Decennial National Irrigation Symposium, December 5-8, 2010, Phoenix, Arizona. Paper No:IRR10-9686.2010 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary: Most crops in the Great Plains are irrigated with center pivot sprinklers. Subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) can produce greater crop yields using less water compared with center pivot when available water is limited. However, SDI costs about twice as much per acre as a center pivot. Also, SDI must be operated and managed much differently than center pivots, and most farmers are not familiar with SDI. An economic analysis compared SDI to center pivot for grain and cotton crops. SDI could be economically advantageous over center pivot is the irrigated area is small and the SDI system life was at least ten years. Many SDI systems have been shown to last greater than 20 years when properly designed and maintained.

Technical Abstract: Subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) as with all microirrigation systems is typically only used on crops with greater value. In the U.S. Great Plains region, the typical irrigated crops are the cereal and oil seed crops and cotton. These crops have less economic revenue than typical microirrigated crops. This paper will present a case for how SDI can be economically competitive for the lesser value crops of the Great Plains. The case will have 5 sections: (1) how do Great Plains crops respond to SDI?; (2) are there special uses for SDI in the Great Plains?; (3) how can SDI system costs be minimized without causing operational and maintenance problems?; (4) can SDI systems have a long life?; and (5) how does SDI compare economically to alternative irrigation systems?

Last Modified: 10/20/2017
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