Supplemental Irrigation by Runoff Farming: An Economic Assessment

by Gary W. Frasier, United States Dep of Agriculture, United States,
Frank G. Scrimgeour, United States Dep of Agriculture, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Watershed Planning and Analysis in Action


A simulation model was used to evaluate the economic potential for using runoff farming techniques for growing grain sorghum at two locations in Texas. The results show that the yearly precipitation fluctuations are magnified into large fluctuations of yearly benefits (profit/loss) and that a management decision based on mean values may be misleading. At both sites a conventional dryland farming operation would provide a greater economic benefit than the runoff farming system requiring water storage and irrigation application equipment. The principal limitations of the assumed runoff farming system is that it does not take advantage of the wet years or respond sufficiently in the dry years. Other options such as direct application of the water to the growing area from the catchment area, higher value crops, increased yield varieties, or other locations with different climatic conditions need to be evaluated on their own conditions and merit.

Subject Headings: Irrigation | Runoff | Agriculture | Economic factors | Water storage | Hydrologic models | Crops | Precipitation | Texas | United States

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