Economic Evaluation of Limited Irrigation Production Strategies on the Southern High Plains of Texas
Bordovsky, James P.
Johnson, Jeff W.
Pate, Daniel K.
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Crop production on the Southern High Plains of Texas relies on groundwater drawn from the Ogallala Aquifer at rates greater than recharge. Agricultural water rules related to pumpage restrictions in addition to improving water use efficiency have been enacted on the Southern High Plains of Texas in order to manage groundwater resources. The reality of decreased water availability, whether by aquifer depletion or water district regulations, makes the assessment of economic viability regarding production practices imperative for irrigated crop producers as they weigh options to sustain their operations for the future. Dryland production of cotton on the Southern High Plains of Texas encompasses approximately 1.8 million acres (Texas Agricultural Statistics Service, 2005). On the more productive 2.4 million irrigated acres, the ability to maintain the greater production relies heavily on available groundwater. Irrigated crop rotations have shown potential economic advantages over continuous cotton production in previous studies (Segarra et al., 1991; Blackshear and Johnson, 2003). This study conducted an economic analysis comparing continuous cotton