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Analysis to Assess Potential Economic Benefits of Water Table Management by Subirrigation

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  022014,  2002 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.9702) @2002
Authors:   H. W. Belcher
Keywords:   Water Table Management, Subirrigation, Economic Analysis, Yield Benefit, Return on Investment

Water table management (WTM) by subirrigation has been studied in Michigan since 1982. Comparative studies at 7 locations show that, on average, subirrigation (SI) increases Michigan corn yield by 15% and soybean yield by 6% compared to subsurface drainage without SI. The average yield for subirrigated corn was 10,200 kg/ha (162 bu/ac). Subirrigated soybean yields averaged 3,170 kg/ha (47 bu/ac). Yields measured from adjacent subsurface drained fields without SI averaged 8,870 kg/ha (141 bu/ac) for corn and 2,990 kg/ha (44 bu/ac) for soybeans. To assist agricultural producers evaluate the potential for increased income from SI; a personal computer economic analysis model was developed. Application of that model suggests that, for a corn and soybean rotation at present market value, SI provides an acceptable positive return on investment until the capital cost of SI improvements exceeds $167/ha ($68/ac).

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