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Group Title: Bulletin Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Title: Irrigation systems and cost estimates for row crop production in Florida
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 Material Information
Title: Irrigation systems and cost estimates for row crop production in Florida
Series Title: Bulletin Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Physical Description: 11 p. : ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Harrison, D. S ( Dalton Sidney ), 1920-
Smajstrla, A. G ( Allen George )
Zazueta, F. S ( Fedro S )
Publisher: Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville
Publication Date: 1985
 Subjects
Subject: Irrigation farming -- Economic aspects -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Sprinkler irrigation -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Irrigation -- Costs -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: D.S. Harrison, A.G. Smajstrla, and F.S. Zazueta.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: "February 1985."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00008518
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAA6780
ltuf - AEH0144
oclc - 14720376
alephbibnum - 000872865

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February 1985 Bulletin 216



Irrigation Systems
and Cost Estimates
for Row Crop Production
in Florida


D. S. Harrison, A. G. Smajstrla, and F. S. Zazueta



HUME LIBRARY
AUG 08 i95j
1.F.A.S.-Univ. of Florida

Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida, Gainesville
John T. Woeste, Dean for Extension








Irrigation Systems and Cost Estimates
for Row Crop Production in Florida

D. S. Harrison, A. G. Smajstrla, and F. S. Zazueta*


Irrigation of row crops in north and northwest Florida is becom-
ing increasingly popular. Because of recent droughts and the need
by farmers to produce more on less land, the application of 6 to 12
inches of water during low rainfall spring months is a common prac-
tice. Major crops now being irrigated are: corn, vegetables, pasture,
tobacco, and soybeans.
Irrigation systems commonly used for row crops in Florida are
center pivots (medium pressure and low pressure) and traveling
guns (cable tow and hard hose units). These are all self-propelled
sprinkler systems, and they are very popular for row crop produc-
tion because of their low labor requirements.

Irrigation Cost Estimates
Under low rainfall conditions, irrigation operating costs plus
fixed costs can be a significant portion of total production costs for
field and vegetable crops in north and northwest Florida. Even for
average rainfall years, operating (variable) costs alone for traveling
gun systems vary from $40 to $43 per acre. Center pivot operating
costs vary from $17 to $21 per acre (Table 1 and Figures 1-2).
Energy costs alone account for about 75 percent of operating costs
for center pivots and up to 87 percent for traveling guns.
To determine irrigation costs for typical situations, four row
crop irrigation systems were designed in 1981-82. Systems were
competitively bid by installers and completely installed. They in-
cluded (1) center pivot, low pressure (LP), (2) center pivot, medium
pressure (MP), (3) traveling gun, cable tow (CT), and (4) traveling
gun, hard hose (HH), for 138, 138, 100 and 100 acres, respectively.
The acreages given were used because they are typical economical
system sizes. Systems designed for fewer acres would be more
expensive because of the economics of scale.
Irrigation cost estimates presented here were based on syn-
thesized budgets, reflecting present fixed costs of individual com-

Professor, Associate Professor and Visiting Assistant Professor, respec-
tively, Agricultural Engineering Department, IFAS, University of Florida, Gaines-
ville, Fla. 32611.









ponents and system operating costs. All were also based on apply-
ing 6 inches of irrigation per crop year. Individual growers may
obtain prices slightly higher or lower than those presented here
depending upon present economic conditions. As shown in Appen-
dices A-D, items affecting fixed costs include: well, pump, power
unit, and system cost as well as current interest rates, while those
affecting operating costs include: fuel (energy), labor, and inches of
water applied.
Fixed Costs: From Table 1, fixed costs ranged from $45 to $51
per acre for the center pivot systems. The low pressure system was



TABLE 1. Irrigation cost estimates for row crop production in north
and northwest Floridat

Type Fixed Operating Total
System Costs* Costs* Costs*
$/Acre $/Acre-Inch*
(1) Center Pivot
(LP) $45.36 $16.84 $ 62.20 $10.37

(2) Center Pivot
(MP) $50.46 $20.49 $ 70.95 $11.83

(3) Traveling Gun
(CT) $50.99 $42.71 $ 93.70 $15.62

(4) Traveling Gun
(HH) $66.54 $40.44 $106.98 $17.83

Center Pivot (LP): $51,800 in initial costs for pump, well, power unit, and system
for 138 acres irrigated of a 160-acre field.
(LP = low pressure, 40 psi at pivot)


Center Pivot (MP):


$57,100 in initial costs for pump, well, power unit, and sys-
tem for 138 acres irrigated of a 160-acre field.
(MP = medium pressure, 80 psi at pivot)


Traveling Gun (CT): $39,750 in initial costs for pump, well, pipe, power unit, and
system for 100 acres. (CT = cable tow)

Traveling Gun (HH): $48,618 in initial costs for pumps, well, pipe, power unit,
and system for 100 acres. (HH = hard hose)

t From ASAE Paper SER 82-010, February 1982, American Society of Agricultural Engineers,
St. Joseph, MI.
* Details concerning the calculation of the values in the above table are given in Appendices
A-D.
* Based on six, 1-inch applications per year.








less expensive, primarily because of reduced pump and power unit
costs. Details of component specifications and costs for the center
pivot systems are given in Appendices A and B.
Fixed costs for the traveling gun systems ranged from $51 to
$67 per acre. The cable tow system was less expensive than the hard
hose system, primarily because of the lower initial cost of the cable
tow traveler unit, but also because of the reduced pump and power
unit sizes required by the cable tow unit. The smaller pump and
power unit resulted from the lower friction losses in the cable tow
hose as compared to the conventional sized hard hose for the same
flow rates. Details of component specifications and costs for the
traveling gun systems are given in Appendices C and D.
Fixed costs per acre were less for the center pivot systems than
for the traveling gun systems, primarily because of the greater
acreage to which the center pivot system is adapted. These costs are
shown graphically in Figure 1.
Fixed costs are strongly dependent upon interest rates at which
money is borrowed and the depreciation time. Figure 2 presents the
same data as Figure 1 except computed for a 15 percent interest
rate rather than 10 percent, and for a 10-year depreciation period
rather than depreciating for the life expectancy of each component.
As a result, annual fixed costs range from $21 to $27 per acre
greater in Figure 2. These costs would be expected to vary for in-
dividual systems depending upon the exact interest rates and
depreciation periods used.
Operating Costs: From Table 1, operating costs per acre for the
center pivot systems were approximately 50 percent of those for the
traveling guns. Costs ranged from $17 to $21 per acre for the center
pivots to $40 to $43 per acre for the traveling guns. These estimates
were based upon the application of 6 inches of water per year. That
amount was considered typical for row crop production (supplemen-
tal irrigation) under normal climatic conditions in north Florida.
Fuel use rates were based upon average factory data for fuel con-
sumption by irrigation power units in good repair. Growers may
find that their rates deviate from the estimates used here depending
upon their specific power units and associated efficiencies as well as
the efficiencies of their pumping systems.
Operating costs are shown graphically in Figure 1. Cost dif-
ferences were primarily dependent upon the greater fuel usage by
the higher pressure systems. The higher pressures result in greater
total dynamic heads (TDH) that the pump must work against, and
thus greater power unit and fuel requirements. See Appendices A-D
for cost breakdowns. Labor costs also significantly affected
operating costs. In Figure 1, operating cost of the CT system was








greater than that of the HH system because of greater labor re-
quirements for the CT system, and despite a lower TDH for the CT
system.
Total System Costs: Total costs (fixed and operating) for the
four irrigation systems analyzed are shown in both Table 1 and
Figure 1. Center pivot costs ranged from $62 to $71 per acre, while
traveling gun costs ranged from $94 to $107 per acre. Center pivot
total costs were less than traveling gun total costs because of both
lower fixed and lower operating costs. The HH total cost was
greater than the CT total cost because of the greater fixed cost of
the HH system.

Analysis of Individual Systems

Irrigators can easily compute their own costs by substituting
their individual component costs into the tables given in Appen-
dices A-D. Then, by dividing by the straight line depreciation factor
and substituting individual interest rates, costs may be computed
by each grower. Price estimates in this manuscript are presented to
demonstrate a technique and price trends. They will deviate with in-
dividual designs and field situations.
Price estimates of components and depreciation schedules are
also listed in Appendices A-D. It should be realized that present
marketing and sales situations, as well as many other factors, will
change these figures for individual systems purchased.


Irrigation Break-Even Returns


Yield increases required to recover irrigation costs (break-even)
are given in Tables 2 and 3. Table 2 lists break-even yields for corn,
while Table 3 lists break-even yields for soybean production. These
tables can be used as guides to determine the yield increases re-
quired to pay for an irrigation system and the economics of whether
or not to purchase an irrigation system.
In both Tables 2 and 3, the break-even yield depends upon the
commodity selling price. The required yields for each of the four
system types are given in the body of the tables. Yields were com-
puted based upon the commodity value, and the irrigation costs
computed in Table 1 were used to compute the yield increase re-
quired. Additional production costs, such as additional fertilizer,
seed, chemigation, or other costs may be incurred and may further
increase the yield required to break even.














I00k


$62 20

50 $1684


$9370



$ 42 71


Variables:
10- to 20-year Straight Line Depreciation
10% Interest
6 Inches per Year


$106.98



$40 44


$7095

$ 20 49




$ 50.46


- $45.36


UtJ_________


Center Pivot
(LP 138 acres)


Center Pivot Traveling Gun Traveling Gun
(MP 138 acres) (CT 100 acres) (HH 100 acres)


$50.99


$6654


Figure 1. Estimates of fixed, variable, and total costs for field crop
irrigation systems, applying 6 inches per year, and based on
a 10% interest rate and 10- to 20-year depreciation, 1984.


I-
Variales: 127.8


S$8444

$1684


Variables:
10-year Depreciation
15% Interest
6 Inches per Year


$91 70

$2049


$87.44


$77.02


$71.21


$6760


Center Pivot
(LP 138 acres)


Center Pivot
(MP 138 acres)


Traveling Gun
(CT 100 acres)


Traveling Gun
(HH 100 acres)


$119.73



$4271


Figure 2. Estimates of fixed, variable, and total costs for field crop
irrigation systems, applying 6 inches per year, and based on
a 15% interest rate and 10 year depreciation, 1984.


1 I100


e 75



0
2 50
o
-


u.


$127. 88


$ 40.44









From Table 2 a yield increase of 17.8 bushels is required to pay
for irrigating corn, with a low pressure center pivot system, if corn
sells for $3.50 a bushel. A yield increase of 30.6 bushels is required if
the corn was irrigated using a hard-hose traveling gun irrigation
system, because of increased irrigation costs. If the selling price of
corn is less, yields must be increased proportionally. Conversely, if
the selling price is greater, lesser yields would pay for the cost of
irrigation. Table 3 can be used in the same manner to estimate soy-
bean yield increases required to pay for irrigation.

Summary

Irrigation cost estimates for four types of self-propelled irriga-
tion systems commonly used for irrigation of row crops in north and



TABLE 2. Estimated corn yield increase required to recover annual
irrigation costs for four irrigation systems.*

Irrigation System
Pricelbushel CP-LP CP-MP TG-CT TG-HH
Yield Increase Required to Break Even
.............--------------............................ Bushels ...-------.................-----------
$1.00 62.2 70.1 93.7 107.0
$1.50 41.5 47.3 62.5 71.3
$2.00 31.1 35.5 46.8 53.5
$2.50 24.9 28.4 37.5 42.8
$3.00 20.7 23.7 31.2 35.6
$3.50 17.8 20.3 26.8 30.6
$4.00 15.6 17.7 23.4 26.8
* 10- to 20-year straight line depreciation; 10 percent interest; 6 inches per year.

CP-LP Center pivot, low pressure, 138 acres irrigated (6 inches per year).

CP-MP Center pivot, medium pressure, 138 acres irrigated (6 inches per year).

TG-CT Traveler gun, cable tow, 100 acres irrigated (6 inches per year).

TG-HH Traveler gun, hard hose, 100 acres irrigated (6 inches per year).

NOTE: Only the actual (total) irrigation costs were used to compute the yield in-
crease required. Additional production costs, such as additional fertilizer, seed,
chemigation, and other costs may be incurred and need to be included in above
figures.









northwest Florida were presented. Fixed, operating, and total costs
were presented in a format that would allow individuals to estimate
their own annual system costs. Corn and soybean yield increases re-
quired to pay for irrigation were presented to allow irrigators to
assess whether irrigation would be justified in their production
systems.
For the conditions of this study, the low pressure center pivot
irrigation system had the lowest annual cost per acre and per unit of
water applied. This was followed by the medium pressure center
pivot, the cable-tow traveling gun and the hard-hose traveling gun,
in order of increasing cost. Total costs ranged from $62 to $107 per
acre, while operating costs ranged from $10 to $18 per acre-inch of
water for applications of 6 inches of water per year.



TABLE 3. Estimated soybean yield increase required to recover annual
irrigation costs for four irrigation systems.*

Irrigation System
Pricelbushel CP-LP CP-MP TG-CT TG-HH
Yield Increase Required to Break Even
......................................... Bushels ---.......... ..................------ ---
$5.00 12.5 14.3 18.6 21.5
$5.50 11.3 12.9 17.0 19.5
$6.00 10.4 11.8 15.6 17.8
$6.50 9.6 10.9 14.4 16.5
$7.00 8.9 10.1 13.4 15.3
$7.50 8.3 9.5 12.4 14.3
* 10- to 20-year straight line depreciation; 10 percent interest; 6 inches per year.

CP-LP Center pivot, low pressure, 138 acres irrigated (6 inches per year).

CP-MP Center pivot, medium pressure, 138 acres irrigated (6 inches per year).

TG-CT Traveler gun, cable tow, 100 acres irrigated (6 inches per year).

TG-HH Traveler gun, hard hose, 100 acres irrigated (6 inches per year).

NOTE: Only the actual (total) irrigation costs were used to compute the yield in-
crease required. Additional production costs, such as additional fertilizer, seed,
chemigation, and other costs may be incurred and need to be included in above
figures.








Appendix A
Center Pivot System
(Low Pressure) 138 acres, one pivot,
6 applications (1 inch each).


Well-12"; 400'
(20 years, S.L. depreciation)
Pump-Includes gearhead
(800 gpm, 160 ft. TDH)
(15 years, S.L. depreciation)
Power unit-50 hp
(12 years, S.L. depreciation)
Center pivot system, (Low Pressure)
incl. freight and installation
(15 years, S.L. depreciation)
Diesel fuel-3.4 gal./hr., 420 hrs.
pumping time, fuel @ $1.20/gal.
Oil-72 gal. @ $6/gal.
Repairs-4.2 hrs. @ $15/hr.
Labor-33 hrs. @ $3.50/hr.
Interest on investment
Well, pump, power unit, system
charged at 10%
Taxes and insurance
Charge at .5% of investment
Total Costs


Investment
Costs

$ 8,800.00


7,000.00

6,000.00


30,000.00


Annual
Costs


$ 440.00


466.67

500.00


2,000.00

1,713.60
432.00
63.00
115.50


2,590.00


S 259.00
$51,800.00 $8,517.77


Annual operating costs/acre-$16.84
Annual fixed costs/acre -$45.36
Total annual costs/acre -$62.20
$/Acre-inch -$10.37








Appendix B
Center Pivot System
(Medium Pressure) 138 acres,
6 applications (1 inch each).


Well-12"; 400'
(20 years, S.L. depreciation)
Pump-Includes gearhead
(800 gpm, 250 ft. TDH)
(15 years, S.L. depreciation)
Power unit-75 hp
(12 years, S.L. depreciation)
Center pivot system-Includes
freight and installation
(15 years, S.L. depreciation)
Diesel fuel-4.4 gal./hr., 420 hrs.
pumping time, fuel @ $1.20/gal.
Oil-72 gal. @ $6/gal.
Repairs-4.2 hrs. @ $15/hr.
Labor-33 hrs. @ $3.50/hr.
Interest on investment
Well, pump, power unit, system
charged at 10%
Taxes and insurance
Charge at .5% of investment
Total Costs


Investment
Costs

$ 8,800.00


8,500.00

9,800.00


30,000.00


Annual
Costs


$ 440.00


566.67

816.67



2,000.00


2,217.00
432.00
63.00
115.50


2,855.00

285.50
$57,100.00 $9,791.34


Annual operating costs/acre-$20.49
Annual fixed costs/acre -$50.46
Total annual costs/acre -$70.95
$/Acre-inch -$11.83








Appendix C
Traveler (Cable Tow) System
100 acres, 6 applications (1 inch each).


Investment
Costs


Annual
Costs


Well-12"; 400'
(20 years, S.L. depreciation) $ 5,500.00 $ 275.00
Pump-Includes gearhead
(600 gpm, 350 ft. TDH)
(15 years, S.L. depreciation) 7,000.00 466.67
Power unit-75 hp
(12 years, S.L. depreciation) 7,000.00 583.33
Traveler unit, reel and hose
(10 years, S.L. depreciation) 11,500.00 1,150.00
Underground pipe-6", 2400 ft.
(20 years, S.L. depreciation) 8,750.00 437.50
Diesel fuel-4.4 gal./hr., 600 hrs.
pumping time, fuel @ $1.20/gal. 3,168.00
Oil-72 gal. @ $6/gal. 432.00
Repairs-6.0 hrs. @ $15/hr. 90.00
Labor-166 hrs. @ $3.50/hr. 581.00
Interest on investment
Well, pump, power unit, system
charged at 10% 1,987.50
Taxes and insurance
Charge at .5% of investment 198.75
Total Costs $39,750.00 $9,369.75
Annual operating costs/acre-$42.71
Annual fixed costs/acre -$50.99
Total annual costs/acre -$93.70
$/Acre-inch -$15.62








Appendix D
Traveler (Hard Hose) System
100 acres, 6 applications (1 inch each).


Investment
Costs


Well-12"; 400'
(20 years, S.L. depreciation)
Pump-Includes gearhead
(600 gpm, 415 ft. TDH)
(15 years, S.L. depreciation)
Power unit-90 hp
(12 years, S.L. depreciation)
Hard hose traveler unit Compp.)
(10 years, S.L. depreciation)
Underground pipe; 6" PVC, 1200'
(20 years, S.L. depreciation)
Diesel fuel-5.2 gal./hr., 600 hrs.
pumping time, fuel @ $1.20/gal.
Repairs-6.0 hrs. @ $15/hr.
Labor-60 hrs. @ $3.50/hr.
Interest on investment
Well, pump, power unit, system
charged at 10%
Taxes and insurance
Charge at .5% of investment
Total Costs


$ 5,500.00 $ 275.00


7,500.00

7,750.00

23,500.00

4,368.00












$48,618.00


500.00

645.83

2,350.00

218.40

3,744.00
90.00
210.00


2,430.90

243.09
$10,707.22


Annual operating costs/acre-$ 40.44
Annual fixed costs/acre -$ 66.54
Total annual costs/acre -$106.98
$/Acre-inch -$ 17.83


Annual
Costs
























































This publication was promulgated at a cost of $762, or 25.4
cents per copy, to help growers and county agents determine
irrigation needs and costs. 5-3M-85

COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORI-
DA, INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES, K. R.
Tefertller, director, In cooperation with the United States Department IFAS
of Agriculture, publishes this information to further the purpose of the
May 8 and June 30, 1914 Acts of Congress; and is authorized to pro-
vide research, educational information and other services only to Indi-
viduals and Institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex or national ori-
gin. Single copies of Extension publications (excluding 4-H and Youth publications) are
available free to Florida residents from County Extension Offices. Information on bulk
rates or copies for out-of-state purchasers Is available from C. M. Hinton, Publications
Distribution Center, IFAS Building 664, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
32611. Before publicizing this publication, editors should contact this address to deter-
mine availability.




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