This study evaluates seven irrigation systems for use in production of grain sorghum and corn. These systems are medium pressure center-pivot (MPCP), low pressure center-pivot (LPCP), low drift nozzle center-pivot (LDN) , low energy precision application center-pivot (LEPA), furrow flood (FF) , surge flood (SF), and subsurface drip (SD). After-tax net present value estimates from investing in and using each system over a 10-year period to produce grain sorghum and corn are compared. The surge flood system, has the highest net returns under typical conditions for irrigation of both grain sorghum and corn. The furrow flood system generates the next highest net returns for both crops, followed by the subsurface drip system. The medium pressure center-pivot system is the least profitable for both crops. Of the center-pivot systems, the low pressure system has the highest net return, but is followed very closely by the low drift nozzle system. The results of the sensitivity analysis indicate that the net return estimates and ranking of the subsurface drip system are very sensitive to the yield response to irrigation. Lower than average crop prices also have a substantial impact on the ranking of this system. The original investment cost is also an important determinant of its net return.


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