A Comparative cost Analysis of Vegetable Irrigation Systems

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  • 1 Associate professor, Dept. of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, Auburn Univ., Ala.
  • 2 Associate professor, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center-Bradenton, Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Bradenton, FL 34203.
  • 3 Assistant professor, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center-Bradenton, Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Bradenton, FL 34203.

Three vegetable irrigation systems, semi-closed subirrigation (seepage), fully enclosed subirrigation (seepage), and drip irrigation, were evaluated for use on sandy soils with naturally high water tables to determine comparative irrigation costs for tomato production. Investment, fixed (ownership), and variable (operating) costs were estimated for each irrigation system. The investment costs of the drip irrigation system were significantly greater than those for the semi-closed and fully enclosed irrigation systems. The variable costs, however, for the semi-closed system were considerably less than those for the fully enclosed and drip irrigation systems. The semi-closed irrigation system, therefore, was determined to be the least-cost tomato irrigation system under present fuel cost and nonlimiting water supply conditions.

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