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A study was conducted to determine the economic benefits of subsurface irrigation using field results and historical climatic and grain price data. The experimental field site was under a ridge-till system with com (Zea mays L.) and soybean (Glycine Max Merr.) strip cropping. During the 1995 and 1996 growing seasons, water consumption was monitored. The costs of all necessary system components as well as power consumption were taken into account. Climatic data were tabulated to compare the years of study with the long term averages. Crop yields of irrigated and non-irrigated sections of the field were measured. The experimental results were used to predict expenses and economic returns of subsurface irrigation at a larger scale (25 ha). When strip cropping is taken into consideration, crop yields from irrigated land were increased by 10% and 21% as compared to yields (rom non-irrigated land, in 1995 and 1996, respectively. Benefits from scenarios of a low yield response (+5%) and a high yield response (+25%) were also analyzed using discount rates of 8% and 12%. Depending on yield increase, grain prices, and discount rate used, the benefit/cost ratios ranged from 1.08 to 7.21. Subsurface irrigation increased returns by $3.59/ha per year at the low end to $264.35/ha per year at the high end. Judging from past climatic data of the region, the economic benefits of subsurface irrigation would most likely fall in the range of $60.85/ha per year to $140.48/ha per year.
N.G. Barnett, C.A. Madramootoo ancl M.N. Mejia 1997. ECONOMIC FEASIBILITY OF SUBSURFACE IRRIGATION IN EASTERN ONTARIO AND SOUTHERN QUEBEC. Canadian Agricultural Engineering 39(3):177-186.
Canadian Society for Bioengineering