• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Tables
 Foreword
 Summary
 Introduction
 Possible adjustments to supplemental...
 Survey results of farm adjustm...
 Specific estimates of use of C-BT...
 Appendix














Group Title: Technical bulletin Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station
Title: Introduction of supplemental irrigation water
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00082692/00001
 Material Information
Title: Introduction of supplemental irrigation water agricultural response to an increased water supply in northeastern Colorado
Series Title: Technical bulletin Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station ; 76
Alternate Title: Supplemental irrigation water
Physical Description: 34 p. : ill., 1 map ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Anderson, Raymond Lloyd, 1927-
Hartman, Loyal M
Publisher: Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station, Colorado State University
Place of Publication: Fort Collins, CO
Publication Date: 1965
Copyright Date: 1965
 Subjects
Subject: Irrigation water -- Colorado   ( lcsh )
Water-supply -- Colorado   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Statement of Responsibility: by Raymond L. Anderson, L.M. Hartman.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00082692
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: oclc - 23750738

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Table of Contents
        Page i
    List of Tables
        Page ii
    Foreword
        Page iii
    Summary
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Introduction
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Possible adjustments to supplemental water
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
    Survey results of farm adjustments
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
    Specific estimates of use of C-BT water due to changes in application rates and shits in crops
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
    Appendix
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
Full Text
'4, 06


Introduction of


Supplemental


Irrigation


Water
TECHNICAL
BULLETIN
76





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FORT COLLINS, COLORADO JUNE 1965

SM 6-65








Technical Bulletin 76


INTRODUCTION

OF

SUPPLEMENTAL IRRIGATION WATER


Agricultural Response to <
Increased Water Supply i
Northeastern Colorado



by
Raymond L. Anderson1
L. M. Hartman2


Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station
Colorado State University
cooperating with the
Land and Water Branch
Resource Development Economics Division
Economic Research Service
United States Department of Agriculture



1. Agricultural Economist, USDA-ERS, Fort Collins
2. Associate Professor, Economics, Colorado State University















Table of Contents
Page
Summary ---------------.---- 1

Introduction __3--- ----------------- 3
Descriptive data on the area ------------_- 4

Possible Adjustments to Supplemental Water -_- --- 8

Survey Results of Farm Adjustments - --__-- 11
Changes in land and water use _-- ----_----- 11
Changes in use of commercial fertilizer --__--- 15
Changes in capital investment ----------- 16

Specific Estimates of Use of C-BT Water Due to Changes
in Application Rates and Shifts in Crops ---- 19

Changes in crop yields -~__ ---- ----- -- 20

Appendix ___ -------_____ _____-------- 27










Tables
Page
Table 1. Summary of changes made on 150 irrigated farms before and
after C-BT supplemental irrigation water became available,
NCWCD, Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61 ---____ ____- 2
Table 2. Acreage and water supply for selected irrigation and reservoir
companies in State water districts 3 through 6 without
C-BT water, 1925-1941 ------------ ---------- 5
Table 3. Storage water available for irrigation in the primary service
area of Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District,
water years 1954-1961 ----------_---- 7
Table 4. Total water use within the primary service area of the NCWCD,
State water districts 3, 4, 5, and 6 --_ .. ____ ------- 8
Table 5. Average acres of land use on 150 survey farms before and
after C-BT water became available, NCWCD, Colorado,
1951-53 and 1959-61 ------....... ..-------------------- 12
Table 6. Land use by crops on 150 irrigated farms before and after
C-BT water became available, NCWCD, Colorado, 1951-
53 and 1959-61 -- -. ...---------- --------- ----.. 14
Table 7. Changes in irrigated crops grown on 150 farms with NCWCD
water allotments, Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61 --- 14
Table 8. Average irrigation water application on various crops before
and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD, Colorado-- 15
Table 9. Use of fertilizer before and after C-BT water on survey farms,
NCWCD, Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61 ------_ _____ --- 17
Table 10. Fertilization practices on 150 survey farms before and after
C-BT water, NCWCD, Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61_ ----___ 17
Table 11. Capital investment changes made in response to increased
water supply from Colorado-Big Thompson system,
NCWCD, Colorado, 1955-1961 18
Table 12. Change in crops and water application on survey farms, area
I, NCWCD, Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61 --- 21
Table 13. Change in crops and water application on survey farms, area
II, NCWCD, Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61 ... -------- 22
Table 14. Change in crops and water application on survey farms, area
III, NCWCD, Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61 --- 23
Table 15. Change in crops and water application on survey farms, area
IV, NCWCD, Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61 --- 24
Table 16. Use of supplemental irrigation water on 150 farms, NCWCD,
Colorado, 1959-61 --------------- 25
Table 17. Estimated crop yields on 50 survey farms before and after
C-BT water became available, NCWCD, Colorado, 1951-
53 and 1959-61 _- --.... ....... .. ............-------- ------------.. 25
Appendix Tables 1-28 showing water application rates on selected crops
grown within the NCWCD area --- ------- 27-34



Figures

Figure 1. Irrigation water shortage in the NCWCD Project area using
1926 as an ideal water year ---------- 6
Figure 2. Primary service area of the Northern Colorado Water Con-
servancy District and subareas within district, South Platte
Basin, Colorado --_ ..---. ...---.--------.--.....------ 13


















Foreword


This bulletin is one of a series
of publications stemming from
a Colorado State University and
U.S. Department of Agriculture
research study of the values of
water for irrigation and compet-
ing uses in Colorado. Other
major reports in the series have
included ERS Report No. 117 on
Irrigation Enterprises in North-
eastern Colorado, which de-
tails the structure, water-supply
features, and water-pricing prac-
tices of over 100 irrigation or-
ganizations in Boulder, Larimer,
Morgan, and Weld Counties and
Colorado Agricultural Experi-
ment Station Technical Bulletin
81 on Estimating Irrigation
Water Values, which indicates
how values of irrigation water
available from ground sources,
natural streamflow, and supple-
mented streamflow can be im-
puted from farm-sales and value


data. The present bulletin
focuses on changes in crop selec-
tion, crop yields, water applica-
tion practices, and capital invest-
ment induced on a sample of
about 150 farms by an approxi-
mate one-third increase in
streamflow-reservoir supplies
made possible by the Colorado-
Big Thompson Transmountain
Water Diversion Project.
George A. Pavelis, also of the
Land and Water Branch, has
aided materially in planning the
study and reviewing this report.
Frank Goode, formerly a gradu-
ate assistant at Colorado State
University, conducted the field
interviews with farmers. His as-
sistance and that of the cooperat-
ing farmers is sincerely acknowl-
edged, along with the help of
Lea Seim, who tabulated much
of the survey and other informa-
tion.














Summary


Periodic irrigation water
shortages in the South Platte
Basin of Colorado led to forma-
tion in 1938 of the Northern
Colorado Water Conservancy
District and the building of the
Colorado-Big Thompson Trans-
Mountain Water Diversion Pro-
ject from 1938 to 1956.

Native water supplies deliv-
ered about 1.5 acre feet per
acre, and water shortages were
computed to be about one-half
acre foot per acre on the aver-
age. During the first 8 years of
operation, the project delivered
sufficient water to bring the
overall average water supply to
about 2 acre feet per irrigated
acre.
This report attempts to show
the changes farmers made on
their farms in response to sup-
plemental irrigation water sup-
plies. Table 1 summarizes
changes reported in land use,
crops, crop yields, water appli-
cation, fertilizer use, and capital
improvements.
Generally, farms were en-
larged somewhat and farmers
brought more land under irri-
gation. More land was planted
to intensive, high-water require-
ment row crops and fewer acres
to low-value short-season crops.


Yield increases were reported
on all crops grown. More water
was applied to all crops grown,
particularly row crops and al-
falfa.
Twice as many farmers were
fertilizing after C-BT water was
used than before and they were
fertilizing more heavily. One
can speculate that this is due
partly to the complementarity
between water and fertilizer and
partly to increasing knowledge
of the value of fertilizer.
Many farmers reported mak-
ing capital improvements on
farms since supplemental water
became available. Farmers made
improvements averaging $9,700
per farm. Improvement of
land and irrigation systems
averaged almost $5,000 per farm
and improvement and replace-
ment of machinery averaged
around $7,000. Farmers antici-
pating further investments in-
tend to spend an average of
$4,500 on improvements.
In evaluating use of supple-
mental water on farms it was
found 78 percent of the addi-
tional water was used in in-
creased applications, 11 percent
on changes in crops grown, and
10 percent on changes in both
rates of application and crops
grown.









TABLE 1.-Summary of changes made on 150 irrigated farms before and after
C-BT supplemental irrigation water became available, NCWCD
Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before After
Item C-BT C-BT Change


Changes in Land Use
Land in farms (acres/farm)
Irrigated land
Dryland
Grassland
Changes in Crops
Sugarbeets (acres/farm raising)
Corn
Dry beans
Alfalfa
Barley
Wheat
Changes Reported in Crop Yields
Sugarbeets (ton/acre)
Corn (bu./acre)
Dry beans (cwt./acre)
Alfalfa (ton/acre)
Barley (bu./acre)
Wheat (bu./acre)
Changes in Fertilizer Use
Farms using (%)
Average acres fertilized
Fertilizer applied per acre (available N
and P,O0)
Sugarbeets (lbs./acre)
Corn
Dry beans
Alfalfa
Barley
Wheat
Changes in Water Application Per Season
Sugarbeets (inches per acre)
Corn
Dry beans
Alfalfa
Barley
Wheat
Use of Supplemental C-BT Water
Increase in rate of water application
Changes in acres of crops grown
Interaction of irrigation rate change and


195.1
147.8
23.8
24.3

30
33
25
43
34
32

16.5
75.2
30.4
3.3
55.9
34.6

42
53.1


78.4
43.8
33.0
55.2
37.8


19.0
11.9
13.9
12.5
11.2
8.4


208.7
165.2
16.7
26.8

38
48
30
44
29
35

18.7
101.1
39.2
4.3
69.9
42.5

91
88.5


14
8
6

3
7

2
2
2
2
1
1


crop acre change


TOTAL


Capital Investment in Response to C-BT Water
Total onfarm investment
Land and irrigation system improvement
Machinery replacement and new machinery
Anticipated additional investment


13.6
17.4
-7.1
2.5

8
15
5
1
-5
3

2.2
25.9
8.8
1.0
14.0
7.9

49
35.4


L4.2 65.8
85.5 41.7
1.5 28.5
3.6 18.4
i9.4 1.6
'1.5 71.5

25.8 6.8
21.5 9.6
22.1 8.2
23.0 10.5
7.5 6.3
2.9 4.5
Percent
78.5
11.4
10.1

100.0

Dollars/farm
reporting
$9,711
4,976
7,034
4,489
















INTRODUCTION

OF


SUPPLEMENTAL IRRIGATION WATER


Introduction


Irrigation in the South Platte
Basin of Colorado began in the
1860s. In 1870 the Union Col-
ony, sponsored by Horace Gree-
ley, built ditches from the Cache
la Poudre River to irrigate
12,000 acres. Success of this
system stimulated the building
of other irrigation systems using
water from the South Platte,
Cache la Poudre, and Big
Thompson rivers and the St.
Vrain and Boulder creeks.
By 1900, practically all the
currently irrigated land had been
developed and the direct stream-
flow was over-appropriated.
Irrigators then turned to reser-
voir construction. By 1910 most
of the suitable plains reservoir
sites were developed. Attention
next turned to transmountain


diversions, but the few ditches
constructed in the high moun-
tains did not help the general
water situation materially.
Continued w a t e r shortages
and periodic crop failures with-
in the area led to a number of
studies that culminated in the
formation of the Northern Colo-
rado Water Conservancy District
(hereinafter the District) and
construction of the Colorado-
Big Thompson (C-BT) Project
(hereinafter the Project) by the
Bureau of Reclamation.' Con-
struction on the Project began
in 1938 and it was completed in
1956. This system collects and
transports stirplus water from
the Colorado River on the west-
ern slope of Colorado (Gulf of
California drainage) to the east


1 For a detailed account of the origin and formation of the project see J. M. Dille, A
Brief History of the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District and the Colorado-Big
Thompson Project, NCWCD, 1958.









slope (Gulf of Mexico drainage)
to supply supplemental irriga-
tion water and limited munici-
pal and domestic supplies.


Data for irrigation companies
in the State water districts 3
through 6 show the long-term
local irrigation water supply as
1.51 acre feet per acre (table 2)."


Descriptive data on the area According to these studies there
was an overall average shortage
The irrigated area within the of about a half an acre foot of
boundaries of the District is ap- water per acre for the area. Thus
proximately 615,000 acres.2 Of the average water supply needed
this, approximately 425,000 acres to be increased by about half an
are within the primary service acre foot per acre annually.
area, which receives irrigation
water directly from the Project. The C-BT system was de-
The primary service area lies signed to deliver 310,000 acre
west of the South Platte River feet annually from the Colorado
and above the confluence of the River headwaters on the western
Cache la Poudre River and the slope. However, during the first
South Platte. Almost 90 percent 9 years of full operation (1954-
of the water allotments are held 1962), the system delivered an
by water users in this area. The average of 221,000 acre feet or
remainder of the District bene- 71 percent of capacity. The in-
fits chiefly through increased re- ability to reach the full 310,000
turn flows created by the im- acre feet is due primarily to the
ported C-BT water. lower than expected water yield
Early studies made to deter- in the west slope collection area.
mine the need for supplemental
water in the District indicated Determining the water short-
a need for approximately 2 acre ages for the District was very
feet per acre at the headgate of difficult because of the nature of
a system to provide an adequate the ditch companies in the area.6
irrigation supply.3 Dr. Samuel Each ditch company is a distinct
Fortier of the USDA, in a study case with its various river de-
on the need for supplemental crees, reservoirs, and exchange
irrigation water in the South agreements. A shortage which
Platte basin, reported "a proper exists under one company may
net irrigation requirement to be not exist under another com-
within 2.05 AF and 2.20 AF pany, and various companies
per acre for lands within this have different kinds of shortages
district."4 under different conditions.
2 Colorado-B:g Thompson Project, Bureau of Reclamation, USDI, 1955.
STipton Report, "The Feasibility of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project," mimco, 1933,
p. 12.
'Ibid., p. 13.
sData on Selected Irrigation Companies in State Water Districts 1-6, Unpublished data,
CSU & ERS, 1961.
6 ('Revised Studies of the C-BT System," appendix B, chapter 3, p. 7, mimeo report, Bureau
of Reclamation, Region 7, Denver, Colorado, January 1950.









TABLE 2.-Acreage and water supply for selected irrigation and reservoir com-
panies in State water districts 3 through 6 without C-BT water,
1925-1941.


1925-41
Average water supply
acre feet
328,614
128,292
105,381
77,043
639,330


Average water per acre = 1.51 AF.

The first studies made to de-
termine water shortages in
Cache la Poudre Valley and
adjacent watersheds used 1926
as the base year (see figure 1).
But later consideration of this
base period showed weather and
hydrologic conditions were par-
ticularly favorable in that year.
In 1926 soil moisture was high
at the start of the season, runoff
was abnormally high, and a
series of correctly spaced rain-
fall periods occurred during the
growing season. Consequently,
the estimated irrigation water
requirements based on the 1926
crop year were biased down-
ward, understated, and mislead-
ing.
Another series of studies used
the valley inflow-outflow method
to determine water needs. How-
ever, the appropriation doctrine
of water rights left some ditches
short of water, even when a
theoretically adequate supply of
water was available, because of
the need to pass water down-
stream to early appropriators.7
7 Ibid., pp. 8-9.
8 Ibid., p. 10.


A third method was then de-
vised to estimate supplemental
water needs in the District area.
This method was based on total
theoretical consumptive use re-
quirements of irrigated land in
the area. Other factors consid-
ered were: 1) effective precipi-
tation, 2) deep percolation loss
and farm waste, and 3) convey-
ance and operating loss.

Consumptive use was defined
as the average annual quantity
of water, in feet per cropped
acre, absorbed by the crop and
transpired or used directly in
building plant fiber, together
with that evaporated from crop-
producing land. Consumptive
use of water was determined by
the Lowry-Johnson method,
which uses growing season and
seasonal solar energy available
as its main factors. Average
annual consumptive use of water
in the Greeley area was com-
puted as 2.18 feet per acre per
year for the period 1920 through
1947.8


Water
district


Irrigated
area
acres
206,840
85,783
76,945
53,852
423,420


TOTAL











FIGURE 1.-Irrigation water shortage in the NCWCD project area using 1926
as an ideal water year.


WATER


SHORTAGE


010
o 3
OH @
:L I O


1926 '30 '31


VATEI





o


SUPPLY


s i
0o I *" I I
5 1 0-< 1


'32 '33 '34 '35 '36 '37 '38 '39


Water Supply from State Engineer's Records


Average


Average Precipitation in Feet


Taken from Colorado-Big Thompson Report, "Tipton Report," 1940.


o an

e.a
oo o
0 )
10


a.



I,






bo
'4
a.f


10-year
Average









TABLE 3.-Storage water available for irrigation in the primary service area of
Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, water years 1954-
1961.1


Local
reservoir
water
Precipi- released fo
station3 irrigation
Inches
6.88 91
10.38 75
10.27 94
18.70 102
14.26 121
14.36 150
9.76 157
22.11 108
13.34 112


C-BT Project
water Total storage
ir released for water used
irrigation for irrigation
Thousand acre feet
301 392
238 313
177 271
123 225
288 409
233 383
214 371
132 240
213 325


I This table was developed trom data in the 25th Annual Operations and Maintenance
Report of the NCWCD, 1961.
2 A water year extends from Nov. 1 to Oct. 31.
3 Based on measurements for Longmont, Fort Collins, and Greeley.


On the basis of the consump-
tive use requirements, an ideal
diversion figure was computed
for the irrigated lands in the
primary area (districts 3 through
6). The actual water available
was compared with the ideal
diversions and a supplemental
diversion requirement was cal-
culated.

Using the 1936-45 water years
as a base period, the supple-
mental diversion requirement
was calculated as 269,000 acre
feet per year. This figure applies
to the primary area or 425,000
of the 615,000 irrigated acres in
the District.9

During the first 8 years of
full-scale C-BT operations, the


amount of s t o r e d irrigation
water used in the primary ser-
vice area of the District was al-
most tripled, as shown in table
3. This has been important in
agricultural production because
stored water can be delivered as
needed to the farms of the area.

Prior to development of the
C-BT system, farmers were de-
pendent upon local runoff for
stream and reservoir irrigation
water. Local reservoir water was
often limited.

Now farmers are virtually cer-
tain of adequate irrigation
water throughout the crop sea-
son. Variation in storage water
use is associated with precipita-
tion during the year. Years of


8 See L. M. Hartman and R. L. Anderson, Estimating Irrigation Water Values, Tech. Bull.
81, Colorado State University, Agricultural Experiment Station, 1964, figure 3, p. 13, for a
graph showing amount and source of water supply to 337 farms using C-BT water in the
years 1954-60.


Water
year2


Mean


Percent
C-BT
water
Percent
77
76
65
55
70
61
58
55









high precipitation require less
storage water than normal years
and dry years require heavy use
of storage water.
Total water supply (includ-
ing C-BT) in the primary ser-
vice area during the 1954-1962
period averaged 841,000 acre
feet for the 425,000 acres in the
primary area or 1.98 acre feet


per acre (table 4). An average
water supply of almost 2.00 acre
feet per acre in the primary ser-
vice area comes reasonably close
to meeting the irrigation water
supply specified in the early
studies. During some water
years, however, irrigation water
is still short for certain areas
within the District.


TABLE 4.-Total water use within the primary service
State Water Districts 3, 4, 5, and 61


Direct
stream


Local
storage


C-BT
Project


area of the NCWCD.

Average
irrigation
Total water


Water year diversions used deliveries used available
Thousand acre feet (AF/acre)
1953-1954 346 91 301 738 1.76
1954-1955 406 75 238 719 1.71
1955-1956 562 94 177 833 1.99
1956-1957 637 102 123 862 2.06
1957-1958 421 121 288 830 1.98
1958-1959 576 150 233 959 2.29
1959-1960 572 157 214 943 2.25
1960-1961 440 108 132 6802 1.62
1961-1962 598 129 283 1,010 2.41
9-year average 506 114 221 841 1.98
I Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District Operation and Maintenance Report, 1961-
1962, p. 15.
Q Precipitation during the 1961 water year was 166 percent of the long-time average for
the area, causing irrigation water use to be below average.


Possible Adjustments to Supplemental Water


The addition of supplemental
irrigation water to an area can
result in several kinds of adjust-
ments to utilize the additional
resource. These adjustments can
be anticipated to some degree.
Typically, farmers would be ex-
pected to use the additional
water in such a way as to maxi-
mize the monetary returns or to
minimize cost from the use of
the additional water.


One of the important re-
sponses to additional w a t e r
would be to irrigate present
crops more heavily and more fre-
quently, to increase yields and
returns. The optimum adjust-
ment is to achieve as high a
yield as possible with existing
resources so incremental costs
equal incremental gains.
Additional water generally re-
quires additional labor, particu-









larly if water application takes
the form of an additional num-
ber of irrigations during a sea-
son. The farmer may or may not
have this labor available.
Also, in order to achieve max-
imum yields from additional
water a farmer soon discovers
the need for additional fertilizer.
Thus, in order to optimize his
use of water he would have to
increase his use of labor, fer-
tilizer, and other inputs as well.
Another major change ex-
pected with a supplemental
water supply would be a shift
in farm crop patterns. Farmers
with more irrigation water at
their disposal wou 1 d convert
from short-season, low-water-
using crops to longer-season,
high-water-using crops.
Shifts of this type would be
chiefly from small grain crops
requiring only one or two irri-
gations a season to row crops or
root crops that do not mature
until the fall of the year. Longer-
season crops tend to produce
higher incomes per acre and in
many cases a higher income per
acre foot of water use. Sugar-
beets, potatoes, and corn are ex-
amples.
The optimum shift would de-
pend on the most limitational
factors. However, with substan-
tial increase in water supply,
the most likely shift would be
to long-season, high-water-use
crops, considering labor, land
area, farm rotation systems, and
other factors. One of the input
factors would often place a limi-
tation on the number of acres
grown before the other inputs


were completely utilized. In
many cases, water supply would
no longer be the most limiting
resource.
A third possible adjustment
on a farm with supplemental ir-
rigation water is to begin irri-
gating new land. This adjust-
ment could be of two types.
The most obvious and valu-
able conversion is from dryland
crops to irrigated crops. The
other is to increase the irrigated
area by extending the existing
onfarm irrigation system or
leveling rough lands. Here the
objective is to irrigate as much
land as is available on the exist-
ing farm unit or as much as the
water supply permits. Of course,
costs of making these changes
can not be larger than the bene-
fits derived from bringing new
lands into cultivation.
Another type of new land
which can be brought under
irrigation is dryland pasture or
hay fields. This adjustment can
be made on lands not suitable
for cultivation or too costly to
improve for cultivated crops.
Optimum adjustment is to
use supplemental water to get
higher returns than could be
gained from more intensive use
of water on existing croplands.
Irrigation of pasture and hay
lands in most instances calls for
increases in livestock on the
farms.
A fourth use of supplemental
irrigation water is the substitu-
tion of irrigation water for
labor. When irrigation water is
in short supply, careful manage-
ment, continuous supervision,









and control of water can make
a limited supply cover a large
area. But this requires substan-
tial labor.
However, if supplemental
water is relatively inexpensive
and ample to mature crops, there
may be a substantial opportun-
ity to reduce labor costs. A farm-
er no longer has to make each
unit of water do the maximum
irrigation duty on the farm. It
could be cheaper to allow some
water waste than to use expen-
sive labor to control and utilize
the water fully.
Adjustments of this type occur
primarily where farmers have
made the optimum adjustments
to adequate irrigation of all
crops, shifted to high-value crops,
and brought in as much new
land as was economically feas-
ible on their units. Some farm-
ers might substitute water for
labor simply because it is the
easiest route to follow with sup-
plemental water. They could
substitute an inexpensive input
(acre feet of water) for an ex-
pensive input (man days).
However, there are serious
hazards associated with substitut-
ing water for labor. First there
is the obvious problem of the
excess water washing plant nu-
trients out of the soil. Another
problem is the longer term effect
of water logging and salt accum-
ulation on low-lying areas with
excess water.
A letdown in good farm irri-
gation practices to save labor
might result in lower land pro-
ductivity due to water seepage
problems.


Many irrigation company
officials mention this as a new
problem in certain areas where
farmers are u s i n g irrigation
water more lavishly. One result
of heavier water use is the need
to install drainage systems on
lands where they were previous-
ly unnecessary. Heavy-water-
using row crops may require
drainage systems to keep the
soil from becoming unproduc-
tive due to seepage.
Immediately after formation
of the Conservancy District,
some farmers signed up for allot-
ments of C-BT water even
though their water supplies were
adequate most years. A chief
concern at that time was to get
a commitment to use all of the
water the system would pro-
duce. Only hasty study was
made of the adequacy of each
farmer's water supply before an
allotment was granted.
It became apparent later that
farmers wanted more water
than it was possible to deliver.
Detailed studies were then made
of individual farm's water sup-
plies, and allotments were given
only to those farms where there
was a demonstrable need for
supplemental water.
Some farmers in the District
area hold C-BT water allotments
as insurance against short water
years. When local water supplies
run short they can call upon C-
BT water to finish their crops.
During normal water years they
usually can rent the C-BT allot-
ments to farmers who need addi-
tional water.
In some years water is gener-









ally plentiful, and it is difficult
to find irrigators needing water.
Typically, owners of water held
for insurance are willing to rent
C-BT water at cost. It is only
in years when water is generally
short that the price rises much
above the $1.50 per acre-foot
unit charged by the NCWCD.
In a short year the owner of
C-BT water must make the de-
cision to use it on his own farm
or to rent it to someone else.
Returns to be gained from us-
ing it on his crops would have


to be judged less than the rental
price to encourage rental of
water.

In any case, the existence of
a water "market", as implied in
these transfer arrangements, is
a strong impetus to efficient
water use. This institutional
mechanism, recognizing complex
legal and economic considera-
tions prevailing in irrigated
areas, encourages optimum water
use on a seasonal, year-to-year,
and thus longrun basis.


Survey Results of Farm Adjustments


Changes in land and water use
Farms with NCWCD allot-
ments were surveyed in the sum-
mer of 1962. The survey was to
determine what use was being
made of C-BT water and to
identify and measure the asso-
ciated changes in cropping pat-
terns, fertilizer use, capital im-
provements, and other factors.
Not all changes observed on
the surveyed farms can be attrib-
uted to additional irrigation
water because agriculture is a
rapidly changing industry, sub-
ject to many external forces. For
a long time farmers have re-
sponded quickly to technolog-
ical innovations. However, the
availability of supplemental
water undoubtedly was the cru-
cial factor in many of the on-
farm changes reported.
A stratified random sample of
150 farmers was interviewed. Be-
fore a schedule was taken, the
interviewer determined if the
operator of the farm had oper-


ated it before C-BT water was
used. If the operator had not
been on the farm before C-BT
water was used, a schedule was
not taken. The periods of com-
parison are 1951-53 and 1959-
61.
Land use patterns prevailing
before and after C-BT water
became available are shown in
table 5, both for the general
study area and subareas within
the District. (See figure 2 for
the location of subareas.) These
four subareas differ in basic
water supply, soils, and degree
of farm development.
Average acreage of all farms
increased about 13 acres between
the early 1950's and 1961. Irri-
gated crop acres increased about
17 acres on all farms. Some of
the increase in irrigated land
came from farm expansion. The
rest came from cropland not
previously irrigated or from
grassland not cultivated because
of a lack of water.









TABLE 5.-Average acres of land use on 150 survey farms before and after C-BT
water became available, NCWCD, Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Area Irrigated land Dryland crop Grassland
Avg. acres Avg. acres Avg. acres Total


All areas
Before
After
Area I
Before
After
Area II
Before
After
Area III
Before
After
Area IV
Before
After


147.8
165.2

119.4
178.1

171.9
180.6

139.1
148.3
148.4
150.6


195.1
208.7

157.4
218.9

203.5
208.7
180.6
198.4

212.3
213.1


Table 6 shows the change in
average acres of crop per farm
growing on the farms surveyed.
Generally, farmers shifted from
low-value-per-acre crops to high-
er-value crops. A decline was
noted in the number of farm-
ers growing barley and wheat.
Although farmers growing po-
tatoes increased the number of
acres grown, only 3 percent of
the farmers reported growing
potatoes in 1959-61 as compared
with 7 percent during the early
1950s. An increase in acreage of
corn, sugarbeets, dry beans, ir-
rigated pasture, and alfalfa will
be noted from the table.
Of the intensive row crops,
potatoes and truck crops showed
a decline in total acreage and
farms producing. Poor market
prices for potatoes and high la-
bor requirements of truck crops
probably account for the shift
away from these crops. The
number of farmers irrigating


pasture or grassland shows an
increase, as would be expected
from the previous discussion of
adjustments to supplemental
water.
Crops such as sugarbeets, dry
beans, and corn increased in
both acreage grown and water
applied per acre. Acreages of
corn increased the most of all
crops grown. While the number
of farmers raising corn increased
only 9 percent, the acreage of
corn increased almost 58 per-
cent following the availability of
supplemental water (see table
7).
Part of the increase in corn
acreage is undoubtedly due to a
change in the technology of rais-
ing corn during the past few
years. Much of the corn is now
raised for silage. Large yields of
silage can be obtained by plant-
ing thick stands, fertilizing, and
irrigating heavily. Extensive
cattle feeding in the study area























































FIGURE 2.-Primary service area of the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy
District and subareas within district, South Platte Basin, Colorado.










TABLE 6.-Land use by crops on 150 irrigated farms before and after C-BT
water became available, NCWCD, Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Irrigated farms
Acreage per farm1 producing
Crop Before After Before After
acres acres percent percent
Sugarbeets 30 38 65 67
Corn 33 48 73 82
Dry beans 25 30 37 53
Alfalfa 43 44 91 95
Barley 34 29 87 85
Wheat 32 35 16 11
Potatoes 17 35 7 3
Pasture 4 47 3 3
Truck crops 25 182 8 4


I Average acre per farm producing crop.
SExcludes one farm that raised only truck

has encouraged shifts to corn
for silage.
Sugarbeets and dry beans in-
creased by almost the same acre-
age but, in percentage terms, the
acreage of dry beans increased
almost twice as much as the
acreage of sugarbeets.
On an aggregated basis for
the survey farms, barley acreage
dropped 26 percent. Other small
grains also declined but by


crops in 1959-61.

smaller acreages and percent-
ages. Alfalfa acreage declined
almost 11 percent (table 7).
Truck crops and potato acreage
dropped a small amount but
these are not widely grown in
the area.
Row crops became more im-
portant with additional water
supplies. Farmers shifted from
small grain crops requiring only
1 to 3 irrigations per season to


TABLE 7.-Changes in irrigated crops grown on 150 farms with NCWCD water
allotments, Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before After
C-BT water C-BT water Change
Crop acres acres acres percent
Sugarbeets 2,773 3,555 782 28.2
Corn 3,487 5,500 2,013 57.7
Dry beans 1,540 2,315 775 50.3
Alfalfa 6,354 5,665 -689 -10.9
Barley 4,398 3,241 -1,157 -26.3
Wheat 785 500 -285 -36.3
Oats 466 397 -69 -14.8
Potatoes 264 145 -119 -45.1
Pasture and grass 537 870 333 62.0
Truck crops 247 228 -19 -7.7
TOTAL 20,851 22,416 1,565 7.5









intensive long-season crops re-
quiring 5 to 10 irrigations per
season.
Farmers with C-BT allot-
ments increased their rates of
water application on all irri-
gated crops (see table 8). The
largest increase in water appli-
cation was on alfalfa, up 10.5
inches per acre. Corn was second
with 9.6 inches more, followed
by dry beans with 8.2 added
inches and sugarbeets with 6.8
added inches.
Table 8 also shows sugarbeets
are irrigated the most heavily of
all crops, receiving an average
of almost 26 inches during a
season. Dry beans and corn re-
ceive an average of 22.1 and 21.5
inches, respectively. Small grains
receive from 12.9 to 17.5 inches
per season.

Detailed information on
changes in numbers of irriga-
tions, inches of water per irri-
gation, and distribution of total
water applied on crops is given
in appendix tables 1 to 28.


Changes in use of commercial
fertilizer

The trend from small grains
and alfalfa to high-water-using,
higher-return row crops has lead
to a large increase in fertilizer
use on irrigated farms. There
are fewer acres planted on old
alfalfa fields and fewer acres in
low-fertilizer-using small grains.
To obtain high yields of row
crops, farmers have used in-
creasing amounts of fertilizer.

Changes in fertilizer practices
are more difficult to assess than
other changes on farms in the
NCWCD area. Heavier fertilizer
applications on crops became
general in the irrigated area of
Colorado during the period
when supplemental water was
introduced on the farms sur-
veyed. Thus, it is hazardous to
say what proportion of increased
fertilization was due to supple-
mental water and what propor-
tion was due to changing prac-
tices which were general
throughout the area.


TABLE 8.-Average irrigation water application on various crops before and
after C-BT water became available, NCWCD, Colorado.


Average water
application
before C-BT
inches
19.0
11.9
13.9
12.5
11.2
8.4
9.7


Average water
application
after C-BT
inches
25.8
21.5
22.1
23.0
17.5
12.9
13.5


Crop


Sugarbeets
Corn
Beans
Alfalfa
Barley
Wheat
Oats


Increase in
water
application
inches









The farmers surveyed made
substantial changes in fertilizer
use during the period of adjust-
ment to more irrigation water.
Before C-BT water (the early
1950's), 42 percent of the farm-
ers were using some fertilizer;
by the early 1960's, 91 percent
were using fertilizer. Average
acres fertilized increased from 53
acres per farm to 88.5 acres
(table 9).
Notable changes occurred in
fertilizer practices on a number
of specific crops (table 10). Less
than 10 percent of the farmers
raising barley and alfalfa were
using commercial fertilizer early
in the 1950's, but 30 percent of
them were using it during the
1959-61 period.
The number of farmers fer-
tilizing corn increased to 69
percent from the previous 19
percent. The proportion of
farmers fertilizing sugarbeets in-
creased from 46 percent to 79
percent between the two peri-
ods.
None of the farmers inter-
viewed fertilized wheat or pas-
ture before the early 1950's.
However, during the 1959-61
period, 28 percent were fertiliz-
ing wheat and 25 percent were
fertilizing pasture.
Farmers fertilized 3.6 times as
many acres during 1959-61 than
before C-BT water was avail-
able. In addition to fertilizing
more acres, the farmers inter-


viewed were using heavier ap-
plications of fertilizer per acre.
Average nitrogen applications
rose from 7 pounds per acre to
24 pounds on barley, from 28
pounds to 53 pounds on corn,
and from 22 pounds to 50
pounds on sugarbeets.
The farmers interviewed did
not apply phosphate fertilizer
(P205) on dry beans, wheat,
pasture, or peas early in the
1950's. During the 1959-61
period all crops grown received
some phosphate, however. Phos-
phate applications on corn
doubled, from about 16 pounds
per acre to over 32 pounds.
On sugarbeets, applications
of phosphate increased from 56
pounds to 92 pounds per acre.
Application rates of total avail-
able fertilizer reported by farm-
ers in the area ranged from 39
pounds on barley to 209 pounds
on potatoes.10

Changes in capital investment
Over 61 percent of the farm-
ers receiving water from the C-
BT Project had made or were
intending to make investments
in their farms and equipment
due primarily to supplemental
water. Average water-related in-
vestment by farmers was $9,700
for all types of improvements on
farms. Table 11 shows the types
of capital investment made by
farmers interviewed in the NC-
WCD area.


10 For a more detailed discussion of changes in fertilizer practices in the region see
Agricultural Characteristics and Fertilizer Practices in the Cache la Poudre-South Platte Irri-
gation Area of Northeastern Colorado, Tech. Bull. 78, Colorado Experiment Station.







TABLE 9.-Use of fertilizer before and after C-BT water on survey farms, NCWCD, Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Farms using fertilizer Farms
Farms
Before C-BT water After C-BT water not using
fertilizer
Avg. Avg. Avg. Avg.
no. percent crop acres no. crops no. percent crop acres no. crops no. percent
Area I 9 31 38.9 1.4 26 90 111.8 2.5 3 10
Area 11 26 53 55.1 1.6 46 94 89.0 2.4 3 6
Area III 22 50 58.4 1.9 42 95 81.6 2.4 2 5
Area IV 6 21 46.3 1.5 23 82 73.8 1.6 5 18
TOTAL 63 42 53.1 1.7 137 91 88.5 2.3 13 9


TABLE 10.-Fertilization practices on 150 survey farms before and after C-BT water, NCWCD, Colorado, 1951-53 and
1959-61.
Percent of farms Average Available nitrogen Available phosphate Average fertilizer
fertilizing acres fertilized per acre per acre per acre
Crop Before After Before After Before After Before After Before After
percent acres pounds
Barley 9 30 39.9 35.1 7.1 24.7 30.7 14.7 37.8 39.4
Alfalfa 6 31 22.2 32.4 --- 13.8 55.2 59.8 55.2 73.6
Corn 19 69 31.5 46.4 28.0 53.7 15.8 32.5 43.8 86.2
Beans 21 10.0 34.2 33.0 26.3 .. 35.2 33.0 61.5
Sugar-
beets 46 79 34.0 35.7 22.4 50.3 55.9 92.1 78.3 142.4
Wheat 28 -. 47.0 -- 33.4 38.1 71.5
Pasture 25 51.6 68.8 42.2 111.0
Oats 9 15 30.0 13.7 42.9 26.6 61.8 62.4 104.7 89.0
Potatoes 25 60 15.0 18.3 60.5 72.5 30.0 136.8 90.5 209.3
Peas 13 40.0 --_ 66.0 22.5 88.5
Onions 100 100 10.0 18.5 66.0 57.6 92.0 107.8 158.0 165.4
* One farm.









TABLE 11.-Capital investment changes made in response to increased water supply
from Colorado-Big Thompson system, NCWCD, Colorado, 1955-1961.
Type of Improvement Due to Supplemental Water


Land and
irrigation system
improvement


Machinery
replacement and
new machinery


Avg. Avg.
Farms investment Farms investment


dollars
5,571
5,217
5,067
2,761
4,976


47.3%


dollars
9,547
7,433
4,217
3,745
7,034


38.0%


Anticipated
additional
investment of
all types
Avg.
Farms investment
no. dollars
10 6,227
12 3,675
7 2,400
2 8,000
31 4,489


20.7%


Total
Farms
making Avg. of all
invest- types of
ment investment
no.* dollars
23 15,300
30 9,956
27 6,750
12 5,048
92 9,711



61.3%


* This number does not add up to other investments because some farms made more
than one type of improvement.


Forty-seven percent of the
farmers had made improvements
in irrigation systems and in
irrigated fields. Improvements
in irrigation systems included:
rebuilding onfarm ditches, con-
creting of ditches, installing
checks and drops, and installing
sprinkler systems.
Land improvements consisted
primarily of grading and level-
ing irrigated fields to get a bet-
ter distribution of irrigation
water and to save labor in irri-
gating. A few farmers reported
installing drainage systems on
some lands. These farmers re-
ported spending an average of
close to $5,000 on land and irri-
gation system improvements.
Thirty-eight percent of the
farmers interviewed bought re-
placement equipment or new
equipment due to supplemental


water supplies. Many farmers,
having changed to more inten-
sive row crops, found they now
required additional or equip-
ment of improved quality over
what they owned before supple-
mental water was available.
On the average, the farmers
buying equipment reported
spending about $7,000 for new
machines. This ranged from a
low of $3,700 in area IV to
$9,500 in area I.
Area IV farms changed the
least, due to supplemental water.
Area I farms made the greatest
changes in farm organization,
because this area had been per-
ennially short of water.
It is not known what propor-
tion of the machinery invest-
ment would have been made
without supplemental water.
Machines wear out and new


Area




Area I
Area II
Area III
Area IV
TOTAL
Proportion
of farms
surveyed
(150)









models make older machines ob-
solete. It can be assumed, how-
ever, that without supplemental
water machinery investment
would have been substantially
lower on the farms studied.
In addition to investments al-
ready made, farmers were asked
if they intended to make im-
provements in the future due
to C-BT water. About 21 per-
cent anticipated further invest-
ment.
Most farmers who hoped to
make further improvements had
made some improvements al-
ready. On the average they an-
ticipated spending about $4,500
for additional improvement of
land and equipment. Farmers
in area III planned to spend
only about $2,400. Those in
area IV, who thus far had made
the least investment of any of
the areas, planned to spend
about $8,000.
If these estimates of invest-
ment due to supplemental water


reflect what farmers in the NC-
WCD area generally have been
doing, about $3,700,000 has been
invested in improvement of
farmland and irrigation systems,
and about $4,200,000 in replace-
ment and new machinery. In
addition, the farmers anticipate
putting $1,500,000 into future
improvements due to increased
water supply.
Thus, inferences from survey
answers indicate supplemental
irrigation water will be totally
or partially responsible for about
$9,500,00 in capital investment
on farms within the NCWCD
area. If the water had been
made available during a period
of more favorable prices, it
seems likely much more money
would have been spent on im-
provement of farms. A number
of farmers mentioned they were
being held back in making im-
provements due to a lack of
good returns from their farm-
ing operations.


Specific Estimates of Use of C-BT Water Due to
Changes in Application Rates and Shifts in Crops


Several types of adjustments
to the supplemental C-BT water
have been discussed and survey
results presented showing the
magnitude of the adjustment in
terms of average changes. Un-
fortunately, this does not in it-
self say very much about spe-
cific water application rate or
acreage changes.
One way of separating the
total effect into either a rate,
acreage, or rate-acreage change


is to first take the old acreage
times the change in rate and call
this the rate effect; then take the
old rate times the change in
acreage for different crops and
call this the acreage effect; and
finally take the change in rate
times the change in acreage, call-
ing this the interaction effect.
Results of these computations
from the survey schedules are
presented in tables 12 to 15 by
four major water use areas.









Generally, farmers decreased
their acreages of small grains
and increased their acreages of
row crops, irrigated pasture, and
grass. Water application rates
increased for all crops.
Farms surveyed in area I
(table 12) averaged 12.6 inches
of water applied per acre before
the availability of supplemental
water; the water increased to 24
inches thereafter.
Rates for farms in area II
(table 13) increased from 14.1
to 21.2 inches, in area III (table
14) from 11.9 to 23.5 inches,
and in area IV (table 15) from
13.3 to 23.2 inches.
Supplemental irrigation water
generally was used during the
initial period to increase water
application rates on all crops
(table 16). This accounted for
78 percent of the increase in
water use. The change in acres
from one crop to another ac-
counted for 11 percent of the
increased water use. The inter-
action effect of changes in acres
and changes in rate of applica-
tion accounted for 10 percent of
the water use change.

Changes in crop yields
With changes in water appli-
cation, fertilization rates, and
capital improvements of various
types, one wou d expect in-
creased yields on farms having
supplemental irrigation water.
However, many farmers inter-
viewed were reluctant not only
to make yield estimates on crops


grown before, but also after
supplemental water was avail-
able.
Most of the farmers who did
estimate before and after yields
believed that yields of all crops
grown had increased with the
availability of supplemental
water. These yield-increase esti-
mates were generally larger than
the yield changes reported in
county average yields."1
The average yields given by
50 farmers who were willing to
estimate yields for both periods
are shown in table 17. These
yields are substantially higher
than the average yields for the
counties in which the study area
is located. This is to be expected
because the farmers interviewed
were the ones who received the
supplemental water and were
able to put it to use. Farms out-
side the NCWCD area in these
counties did not receive supple-
mental water. Weld County con-
tains more irrigated lands out-
side the NCWCD area than
either Boulder or Larimer Coun-
ties.
Another explanation for the
yields reported in table 17 be-
ing above county averages is
that the farmers who kept
enough records to estimate pre-
C-BT yields also appear to be
better operators generally. They
therefore had higher than aver-
age increases in yields.
Thus, the yield changes re-
ported in table 17 by the farm-
ers interviewed probably exceed


11 See table 5, page 10, in Agricultural Characteristics and Fertilizer Practices in the
Cache la Poudre-South Platte Irrigation Area of Northeastern Colorado, Tech. Bull. 78. Colo-
rado State University, Agricultural Experiment Station, 1964.














TABLE 12.-Change in crops and water application on survey farms, area I, NCWCD, Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Number of farms = 29

Water application rate


Crop


Acreage of crops
Old New Change


acres


Barley
Alfalfa
Beets
S Corn
Beans
Oats
Wheat
Grass
Pickles
TOTAL
Water
application1


494
1,100
290
414
97
57
184
262
0


406
1,020
328
694
219
22
341
238
78


2,898 3,346


-88
-80
38
280
122
-35
157
-24
78
448


Old New
rate rate


Rate Acreage
Change change change


inches
3,458.0
21,120.0
2,030.0
3,933.0
1,212.5
45.6
680.8
2,462.8
0

2,911'.9"


-1,029.6
-1,056.0
627.0
3,752.0
1,244.4
-402.5
957.7
-300.0
0
316'


Inter-
action


-616.0
-1,536.0
266.0
2,660.0
1,525.0
-28.0
580.9
-225.6
2,340.0


413'.9" 3,641'.8"


24.0 11.4


' Weighted average.


Total


1,812.4
18,528.0
2,923.0
10,345.0
3,981.9
-384.9
2,219.4
1,937.2
2,340.0













TABLE 13.-Change in crops and water application on survey farms, area II, NCWCD, Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Number of farms = 49
Water application rate


Crop


Barley
Alfalfa
Corn
Beets
Beans
Wheat
Oats
Pasture
Potatoes
Grass
Onions
Pickles

TOTAL
Water
application1


Acreage of crops


Old New

acres
1,268 1,064
2,306 1,978
1,374 2,225
1,349 1,639
1,030 1,038
45 10
151 144
0 15
159 110
5 123
10 37
0 5

7,697 8,388


Change


-204
-328
851
290
8
-35
-7
15
-49
118
27
5
691


Old New Rate
rate rate Change change
inches


Acreage
change


17.6 6.0 7,608.0 -2,366.4
21.1 8.1 18,678.6 -4,264.0
18.9 6.2 8,518.8 10,807.7
28.3 9.0 12,141.0 5,597.0
22.2 5.6 5,768.0 132.8
0 -4.0 -180.0 -140.0
5.7 -3.1 -468.1 -61.6
45.0 45.0 0 0
14.8 6.0 954.0 -431.2
10.8 5.8 29.0 590.0
38.4 8.4 84.0 810.0
20.0 20.0 0 0


4,427'.8"


889'.5"


Inter-
action


-1,224.0 4,017.6
-2,656.8 11,757.8
5,276.2 24,602.7
2,610.0 20,348.0
44.8 5,945.6
140.0 -180.0
21.7 -508.0
675.0 675.0
-294.0 228.0
684.4 1,303.4
226.8 1,120.8
100.0 100.0
467' 5,784'.2"


14.1 21.2 7.1


1 Weighted average.











TABLE 14.-Change in crops and water application on survey farms, area III, NCWCD, Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Number of farms = 44


Water application rate


Crop


Barley
Alfalfa
Corn
Beets
Beans
S Wheat
Oats
Pasture
Potatoes
Grass
Tomatoes
Peas
Pickles
G. Beans
S. Beans
TOTAL
Water
application1


Acreage of crops
Old New Change
acres


1,601
1,733
868
819
398
229
173
39
105
13
0
167
0
20
0


1,014 -587
1,685 -48
1,387 519
1,154 335
808 410
52 -177
141 -32
39 0
35 -70
86 73
30 30
60 -107
5 5
0 -20
13 13


Old
rate


New
rate Change


Rate
change


Acreage
change


Inter-
action


Total


inches


8.9
11.9
12.8
17.3
13.8
9.5
9.1
7.5
11.4
10.0
0
12.8
0
21.0
0


15.9 7.0
23.5 11.6
25.3 12.5
29.1 11.8
22.6 8.8
12.7 3.2
11.6 2.5
28.5 21.0
47.1 35.7
37.7 27.7
15.6 15.6
24.0 11.2
11.6 11.6
0 -21.0
21.0 21.0


11,207.0 -5,224.3 -4,109.0 1,873.7
20,102.8 -571.2 -556.8 18,974.8
10,850.0 6,643.2 6,487.5 23,980.7
9,664.2 5,795.5 3,953.0 19,412.7
3,502.4 5,658.0 3,608.0 12,768.4
732.8 -1,681.5 566.4 -1,515.1
432.5 -291.2 80.0 61.3
819.0 0 0 819.0
3,748.5 -798.0 -2,499.0 451.5
360.1 730.0 2,022.1 3,112.2
0 0 468.0 468.0
1,870.4 -1,369.6 -1,198.4 -697.6
0 0 58.0 58.0
-420.0 -420.0 420.0 -420.0
0 0 273.0 273.0


5,239'.1"


705'.9"


6,635'


11.9 23.5 11.6


I Weighted average.


6,165 6,509













TABLE 15.-Change in crops and water application on survey farms, area IV, NCWCD, Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Number of farms = 28


Acrea,


ge of crops


Crop Old New Change
acres


Barley
Alfalfa
Corn
Beets
4 Beans
Wheat
Oats
Pasture
Grass
Clover
Orchard
Peas
TOTAL
Water
application1


1,035 757 -278
1,215 982 -233
831 1,194 363
315 434 119
15 250 235
327 97 -230
85 90 5
94 160 66
94 209 115
30 0 -30
2 2 0
50 0 -50
4,093 4,175 82


Old
rate


Water application rate

New Rate
rate Change change


Acreage
change


Inter-
action


Total


inches


9.8
17.0
12.9
20.9
15.0
8.8
8.6
10.1
9.0
21.0
0
5.0



13.3


15.5 5.7 5,899.5 -2,724.4 -1,584.6 1,590.5
26.9 9.9 12,028.5 -3,961.0 -2,306.7 5,760.8
20.6 7.7 6,398.7 4,682.7 2,795.1 13,876.5
31.2 10.3 3,244.5 2,487.1 1,225.7 6,957.3
18.2 3.2 48.0 3,525.0 752.0 4,325.0
15.5 6.7 2,190.9 -2,024.0 -1,541.0 -1,374.1
18.8 10.2 867.0 43.0 51.0 961.0
36.1 26.0 2,444.0 666.6 1,716.0 4,826.6
33.6 24.6 2,312.4 1,035.0 2,829.0 6,176.4
0 -21.0 -630.0 -630.0 630.0 -630.0
0 0 0 0 0 0
0 -5.0 -250.0 -250.0 250.0 -250.0


2,879'.4"


237'.5" 401'.4" 3,518'.3"


23.2 9.9


I Weighted average.









TABLE 16.-Use of supplemental irrigation water on 150 farms, NCWCD, Colo-
rado, 1959-61.
Use of water Acre feet Percent


Rate change
Acreage change
Interaction of rate change
and acreage change

TOTAL


actual average increases for all
farms receiving supplemental
water. On the other hand,
county-wide average yields
would likely understate the yield
response from supplemental
water.
Four farmers who did not esti-
mate yields of crops for the two
periods said, in their view, the
principal value of C-BT water
to their farms was the insurance
feature of being able to produce
crops in dry seasons where previ-
ously they had suffered crop
losses.
Records of storage water avail-
able for irrigation kept by the
Northern Colorado Water Con-
servancy District (table 2) show
C-BT water is particularly valu-
able in dry years. During


the years 1954 to 1956, when
precipitation was 3 to 6 inches
below the normal 14 inches, C-
BT water provided from 65 to
77 percent of the storage water
available for irrigation. For the
initial 8 years of operation
(1954-61) C-BT water provided
65.5 percent of the storage water
available in the primary service
area of the district.

This study contains implica-
tions for other areas of the West
that might introduce supple-
mental irrigation water. Gen-
erally it shows the way in which
supplemental water has affected
the agriculture of t he area.
These effects are fairly typical
and probably could be used for
prediction in other areas with
similar characteristics.


TABLE 17.-Estimated crop yields on 50 survey farms before and after C-BT
water became available, NCWCD, Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.


Crop
Sugarbeets
Corn for grain
Corn for ensilage
Beans
Barley
Wheat
Oats
Alfalfa
Grass Hay


15,457
2,247


1,972

19,676


10.1

100.0


Change


Before
C-BT
16.5
75.2
16.5
30.4
55.9
34.6
69.0
3.3
1.5


After
C-BT
18.7
101.1
20.4
39.2
69.9
42.5
79.0
4.3
3.0









The survey data indicate
farmers put more water on
all irrigated crops when supple-
mental water became available.
They shifted from short-season,
low-water-using crops to longer-
season, high-water-using crops.
Commercial fertilizer applica-
tions were increased on all crops,
with heaviest applications on
high-value crops.
Farmers in the survey made
capital improvements on their
lands and, also, investments in
machinery and equipment to
handle the new cropping pat-
terns. In the case of the C-BT
project, no new land was to be
brought under irrigation, so
adjustments were limited to land
already under ditches. These
same kinds of adjustments could
be expected in other areas.
Benefits to the economy of
the area accrued through higher
yields, larger acreages of high-
value crops, and increasing gross
sales on farms receiving supple-
mental water. An infrequent but
important value of the C-BT
project also comes during years
when local irrigation water is


abnormally short. Large scale
crop failures can be avoided be-
cause the project doubled or
tripled the storage water avail-
able for irrigation.
Farmers making water-related
investment in land improve-
ments, in commercial fertilizer,
and in machinery and equip-
ment were important to the farm
supply industry. In general, one
would expect higher farm in-
come in the area with conse-
quent multiplier effects.
This study makes no attempt
to trace the benefits of the proj-
ect to the region because the
effects are felt far beyond the
agricultural section of the econ-
omy. For one thing, C-BT water
is becoming important in urban
and industrial development of
the area. Much land specula-
tion is taking place as the result
of available water.
Substantial recreational activ-
ity takes place on project reser-
voirs on both sides of the moun-
tains. And the system generates
large quantities of electricity
which is distributed to all types
of users throughout the region.











Appendix


APPENDIX TABLE 1.-Number of irrigation water applications on sugarbeets
before and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD,
Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.


Number of times irrigated
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8-9
10-11
12


Before C-BT
percent of farms

15.5
28.5
24.0


100.0


After C-BT
percent of farms
6.0
8.5
5.1
22.8
19.4
7.6
11.9
9.3
5.2
4.2
100.0


APPENDIX TABLE 2.-


-Amount of water applied to sugarbeets per irrigation,
before and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD,
Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.


Water applied per irrigation
-inches-


Before C-BT
percent of farms


After C-BT
percent of farms


0 -3 30.0 23.7
4 -6 47.5 53.3
7-9 17.5 15.3
10-12 4.0 6.0
Over 12 1.0 1.7
100.0 100.0



APPENDIX TABLE 3.-Total irrigation water applied to sugarbeets per season,
before and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD,
Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.


Total water applied to crop
-inches-
0-6
7-12
13-18
19-24
25-30
Over 30


Before C-BT

percent of farms
2.4
27.4
29.8
22.6
9.5
8.3
100.0


After C-BT
percent of farms
6.8
5.9
9.3
25.4
24.6
28.0
100.0










APPENDIX TABLE 4.-Average irrigation water applied to sugarbeets per season,
before and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD,
Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before C-BT After C-BT
Mean application 19.06 in. 25.85 in.
Standard deviation 7.87 in. 11.06 in.
Coefficient of variation 40.7 % 42.8 %
Number of farms 84 118


APPENDIX TABLE 5.-Number of irrigation water applications on corn before
and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD, Colo-
rado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before C-BT After C-BT
Number of times irrigated percent of farms percent of farms
1 26.2 4.4
2 27.1 9.6
3 22.4 30.4
4 15.0 22.9
5 6.5 15.5
6 1.8 7.4
7 1.0 5.9
8-9 1.6
Over 9 2.3
100.0 100.0


APPENDIX TABLE 6.-Amount of water applied to corn per irrigation, before and
after C-BT water became available, NCWCD, Colorado,
1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before C-BT After C-BT
Water applied per irrigation
-inches- percent of farms percent of farms
0-3 27.1 20.8
4 -6 55.9 53.3
7 -9 10.4 17.7
10- 12 5.6 6.6
Over 12 1.0 1.6
100.0 100.0










APPENDIX TABLE 7.-Total irrigation water applied to corn per season, before
and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD, Colo-
rado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before C-BT After C-BT
Total water applied to crop Bee CT A r
-inches- percent of farms percent of farms
0 -6 23.3 5.9
7-12 53.3 14.8
13-18 9.4 28.9
19-24 7.5 25.2
25 -30 3.7 9.6
Over 30 2.8 15.6
100.0 100.0

APPENDIX TABLE 8.-Average irrigation water applied to corn per season, before
and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD, Colo-
rado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before C-BT After C-BT
Mean application 11.9 in. 21.5 in.
Standard deviation 7.87 in. 11.78 in.
Coefficient of variation 66.1 % 54.8 %
Number of farms 107 135

APPENDIX TABLE 9.-Number of irrigation water applications on alfalfa before
and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD, Colo-
rado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.


Number of times irrigated


Before C-BT
percent of farms


After C-BT
percent of farms


1 61.2 15.4
2 33.6 36.4
3 5.2 40.5
4 0.0 6.3
5 0.0 0.7
6 0.0 0.7
100.0 100.0

APPENDIX TABLE 10.-Amount of water applied to alfalfa per irrigation, before
and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD, Colo-
rado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before C-BT After C-BT
Water applied per irrigation Bee CT A r
-inches- percent of farms percent of farms
0-3 5.9 2.8
4-6 29.1 23.8
7-9 31.3 28.7
10-12 23.8 32.9
Over 12 9.9 11.8
100.0 100.0










APPENDIX TABLE 11.-Total irrigation water applied to alfalfa per season, before
and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD, Colo-
rado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before C-BT After C-BT
Total water applied to crop Before C-BT After C
-inches- percent of farms percent of farms
0-6 29.0 8.4
7 -12 33.0 14.7
13-18 19.4 21.7
19-24 12.0 19.6
25-30 4.5 14.0
Over 30 2.1 21.6
100.0 100.0







APPENDIX TABLE 12.-Average irrigation water applied to alfalfa per season, be-
fore and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD,
Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before C-BT After C-BT
Mean application 12.54 in. 22.97 in.
Standard deviation 8.18 in. 12.02 in.
Coefficient of variation 65.25 % 49.60 %
Number of farms 134 143


APPENDIX TABLE 13.-Number of irrigation water applications on dry beans be-
fore and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD,
Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before C-BT After C-BT
Number of times irrigated percent of farms percent of farms
1 1.9 3.4
2 14.8 9.3
3 26.0 20.9
4 27.8 15.1
5 18.5 21.0
6 7.4 14.0
7 1.8 5.8
8 -10 1.8 10.5
100.0 100.0










APPENDIX TABLE 14.-Amount of water applied to dry beans per irrigation, be-
fore and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD,
Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before C-BT After C-BT
Water applied per irrigation Bee CT A r
-inches-- percent of farms percent of farms
0-3 48.1 27.9
4 -6 48.2 54.6
7 -9 3.7 11.6
10-12 0 4.7
Over 12 0 1.2
100.0 100.0


APPENDIX TABLE 15.-Total irrigation water applied to dry beans per season, be-
fore and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD,
Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before C-BT After C-BT
Total water applied to crop Be e CT A r
-inches- percent of farms percent of farms
0-6 13.0 5.8
7-12 48.1 17.4
13-18 20.4 18.6
19-24 9.3 30.2
25-30 3.7 12.8
Over 30 5.5 15.2
100.0 100.0


APPENDIX TABLE 16.-Average irrigation water applied to dry beans per season,
before and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD,
Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before C-BT After C-BT
Mean application 13.9 in. 22.1 in.
Standard deviation 7.39 in. 10.8 in.
Coefficient of variation 53.21 % 48.78 %
Number of farms 54 86


APPENDIX TABLE 17.-Number of irrigation water applications on barley, before
and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD,
Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before C-BT After C-BT
Number of times irrigated percent of farms percent of farms
1 65.0 22.4
2 32.4 63.7
3 2.6 13.9
100.0 100.0










APPENDIX TABLE 18.-Amount of water applied to barley per irrigation, before
and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD,
Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before C-BT After C-BT
Water applied per irrigation Before C-BT After C
-inches- percent of farms percent of farms
0 -3 2.7 1.0
4 6 29.8 22.3
7 -9 35.1 37.0
10-12 26.4 30.1
Over 12 6.0 9.6
100.0 100.0


APPENDIX TABLE 19.-Total irrigation water applied to barley per season, before
and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD,
Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before C-BT After C-BT
Total water applied to crop
-inches- percent of farms percent of farms
0-6 15.8 5.2
7 -12 60.5 30.2
13-18 14.0 31.0
19-24 7.9 21.6
25-30 .9 7.7
Over 30 .9 4.3
100.0 100.0


APPENDIX TABLE 20.-Average irrigation water applied to barley per season, be-
fore and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD,
Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before C-BT After C-BT
Mean application 11.20 in. 17.55 in.
Standard deviation 5.61 in. 8.38 in.
Coefficient of variation 50.0 % 47.7 %
Number of farms 114 116

APPENDIX TABLE 21.-Number of irrigation water applications on wheat, before
and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD,
Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before C-BT After C-BT
Number of times irrigated percent of farms percent of farms
1 100.00 66.7
2 27.8
3 -----.- ---
4 5.5
100.0 100.0










APPENDIX TABLE 22.-Amount of water applied to wheat per irrigation, before
and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD,
Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before C-BT After C-BT
Water applied per irrigation Bee CT A r
-inches- percent of farms percent of farms
0-3 5.0
4-6 25.0 22.1
7- 9 35.0 27.8
10-12 30.0 38.9
Over 12 5.0 11.2
100.0 100.0



APPENDIX TABLE 23.-Total irrigation water applied to wheat per season, before
and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD,
Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before C-BT After C-BT
Total water applied to crop Bee CT A r
-inches- percent of farms percent of farms
0-6 30.0 11.1
7-12 65.0 61.1
13- 18 5.0 16.7
19-24 11.1
100.0 100.0



APPENDIX TABLE 24.-Average irrigation water applied to wheat per season, be-
fore and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD,
Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before C-BT After C-BT
Mean application 8.4 in. 12.9 in.
Standard deviation 3.24 in. 5.43 in.
Coefficient of variation 38.8 % 44.8 %
Number of farms 20 18



APPENDIX TABLE 25.-Number of irrigation water applications on oats before
and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD,
Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before C-BT After C-BT
Number of times irrigated percent of farms percent of farms
1-2 100.0 100.0
100.0 100.0










APPENDIX TABLE 26.-Amount of water applied to oats per irrigation, before
and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD, Colo-
rado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before C-BT After C-BT
Water applied per irrigation percent of farms percent of farms
0-3 3.7
4-6 27.2 18.5
7 9 40.9 29.7
10-12 27.3 33.3
Over 12 4.6 14.8
100.0 100.0


APPENDIX TABLE 27.-Total irrigation water applied to oats per season, before
and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD,
Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before C-BT After C-BT
Total water applied to crop
-inches- percent of farms percent of farms
0-6 22.7 11.1
7 -12 63.6 44.5
13-18 13.7 29.6
19-24 11.1
25 30 3.7
100.0 100.0


APPENDIX TABLE 28.-Average irrigation water applied to oats per season, before
and after C-BT water became available, NCWCD,
Colorado, 1951-53 and 1959-61.
Before C-BT After C-BT
Mean application 9.7 in. 13.5 in.
Standard deviation 3.45 in. 5.97 in.
Coefficient of variation 35.45 % 44.29 %
Number of farms 22 27




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