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Abstract

The economic feasibility of investing in sprinkler irrigation technology for rice production is investigated using linear programming and capital budgeting to identify the net annual benefits and net present value, respectively. Groundwater and both flat rate and volumetrically priced surface water sources of irrigation water are analyzed. Under typical practices occurring in rice production operations in the Texas Rice Belt, sprinkler irrigation technology is not profitable at current water costs. Producers using volumetrically priced surface water have the greatest incentive to consider sprinkler irrigation, but water prices must increase by over 250 percent for the investment in a sprinkler irrigation system to become attractive. Yield reductions associated with sprinkle-irrigated rice are a significant disincentive. For equivalent flood and sprinkle-irrigated rice yields, an increase in water prices of over 175 percent is required before the investment in a sprinkler irrigation system becomes economically feasible.

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