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US Micro Irrigation Market Outlook to 2020 - Growing Water Scarcity and High Efficiency of Drip Irrigation to Stimulate Growth\" provides a comprehensive analysis of the sprinkler and drip micro irrigation systems industry in the US. The report covers various aspects such as market size of micro irrigation industry on basis of revenues and land irrigated, segmentation on the basis of sprinkler and drip irrigation systems, crop type, regions and the equipments of both drip and sprinkler irrigation systems and value of exports and imports for micro irrigation equipments.
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Threats related to availability of water in the US as a result of drought conditions in several states have raised concerns about agricultural water use and efficiencies of traditional irrigation techniques across the country. The need for improved irrigation technologies has catalyzed the adoption of micro irrigation systems including sprinkler and drip irrigation techniques. Moreover, energy usage with micro irrigation systems has been found to be lesser by 200-450 KWh/hectare depending upon the crop along with 20-25% reduction in fertilizer and pesticides costs. The US is one of largest market for micro irrigation systems across the world. Sprinkler irrigation systems have been proven to be about 70-75% more efficient than gravity irrigation techniques in delivery and conservation of water. Drip irrigation systems on the other hand have been proven to over 95% more efficient than traditional flood or gravity irrigation techniques.
labor input for construction of furrows, operation and maintenance as compared to sprinkler or drip irrigation techniques. The implementation of micro irrigation system has increased irrigation efficiency and reduced the cost of production. Farmers have achieved 40-60% incline in crop yields with the installation of micro irrigation systems in the same hectares of land. The micro irrigation industry registered revenues of USD ~ million in 2010 and witnessed healthy growth in the next three years to USD ~ million in 2013. US net farm income declined drastically by 56% during 2014-2015, majorly owing to reduced market prices of crops including corn and soybeans. As a result, farmer sentiments towards investing in micro irrigation equipments declined and the market witnessed a slowdown in growth during 2014-2015. The industry recorded revenues of USD ~ million in 2015.
The overall micro irrigation market in the US generated revenues of USD ~ million in 2015 and represented a CAGR of ~% during the period, 2010-2015. Sprinkler irrigation systems accounted for generating ~% of the market revenues as compared to ~% by drip irrigation systems in 2015. Utilization of micro irrigation systems in field crops generated ~% of the overall revenues in 2015. Employment of the systems in orchard plantations resulted in generating ~% of the market revenues. Plantation and others crops including turf grasses, ornamental plants and many more accounted for generating ~% and ~% of the revenues in 2015 respectively.
California had by far the largest area of land irrigated by drip irrigation systems in the country. The state accounted for generating ~% of the micro irrigation market revenues in 2015. Nebraska had the largest irrigated area in the country and a vast majority of which employed sprinkler irrigation systems. It accounted for generating ~% of the market revenues in 2015. Sales of micro irrigation systems in Texas, Idaho and Kansas comprised for ~%, ~% and ~% of the market revenues in 2015 respectively. All other states together accounted for generating remaining ~% of the revenues in 2015. Center pivot sprinkler systems generated bulk of the revenues and accounted for generating ~% of the market revenues in 2015. Lateral movable irrigation systems generated about ~% of the revenues in 2015. Traditional sprinkler systems and all other sprinkler systems including hand move, hose reel and many more comprised ~% and ~% market share in terms of revenues. Of the total land area irrigated by drip irrigation systems currently, only ~% of the land had installed subsurface drip irrigation systems as compared to ~% for surface drip irrigation systems. Lower adoption of subsurface drip systems were primarily due to their higher installation costs.
Sprinkler irrigation technology has been widely adopted to cultivate field crops in large plantation as they have greatly reduced water usage per acre of land and lowered labor and fertigation costs. It is best suited for most field crops that are grown closely together such as cereals, pulses and grains. Field crops accounted for the largest market share in terms of application of micro irrigation systems in various crop types in the US.
Drip irrigation systems have witnessed limited adoption in large fields and field crops due to its higher installation cost and inability to efficiently water field crops which are grown in very less spacing between individual plants. However, the system has been adopted by the farmers to irrigate small fields especially in farms growing oilseeds such as sunflower, oil palm and others. Sprinkler and drip irrigation systems have found tremendous traction for high value cash crops such as fruits and vegetables due to high return on investment per hectare of irrigation of such crops. Drip irrigation systems were preferred over sprinkler in orchard crops as high pressure sprinklers when used on perennial tree crops can saturate the trees and lead to fruit decay. Sprinkler based irrigation considered as a type of medium-high pressure irrigation usually operates with pressures between 5-60 psi and has water application rates of ~ to ~ gallons per hour. They typically create a larger wetted area than drip irrigation making it more suited for irrigating ground covers, large flowerbed and sandy soil. They are far easier to see and monitor, eliminating the most commonly voiced complaint about drip irrigation by the farmers. Sprinkler systems are more suited to irrigate large farmlands and have been largely adopted for cultivating field and orchard crops. Lower installation cost per acre of land of lateral movable and central pivot sprinklers coupled with lower maintenance have catalyzed the growth of sprinklers in the last five years.
Drip irrigation is a type of low pressure irrigation and is more efficient method of irrigation crops as it eliminates over usage of water by delivering the right amount of water at the roots of individual plants. Drip systems have a higher installation cost per acre of land and higher maintenance cost as well. They have very high efficiency of greater than 95% over traditional flood or gravity irrigation techniques as compared to 70-75% for sprinkler systems. This aided the adoption of drip irrigation system in small farmlands especially for cultivating orchard crops.
Center pivot sprinkler systems are widely used across the United States and held a share of around ~% in 2015. A typical center pivot in the US is approximately ~ feet long and is designed to circle within a quarter-section of land, which comprises ~ acres, wherein it irrigates approximately ~ to ~ acres. A center pivot or lateral move system can also be custom designed and can irrigate from 25 to 600+ acres. Center Pivot sprinklers were installed in over ~ farms in the US. Linear move sprinklers are similar to center pivot sprinklers but require more labor as compared to center pivot sprinklers and are also more expensive. In lateral move sprinklers the moving towers and pipes are interconnected to the towers. The main difference is that all the towers move at the same speed and in the same direction and irrigate rectangular lands as opposed to circular by center pivot.
Traditional sprinkler irrigation comprising of fixed solid set and permanent sprinklers are convenient irrigation method with fairly high water efficiency. However, these type of sprinklers account for a small share in the US accounting for ~% in 2015 due to due to the ongoing trend of automated mobile mechanized irrigation systems in the country. Surface drip irrigation system delivers water right at the roots of the plants through a network of pipes above the ground surface.Since water is delivered from above the surface, it is subjected to evaporation losses. The process is suitable for all kinds of orchard and plantations crops, irrespective of growing pattern of their roots. Moreover, the cost of installation of a surface drip irrigation system is cheaper than subsurface systems. However, surface drip irrigation systems are quite prone to damage from insects and rodent. Subsurface drip irrigation delivers water and nutrients at low flow rates through a network of pipes below the ground surface. As water is delivered right at the roots of the plant below the soil surface, water is subjected to minimum evaporation losses. The system requires extensive designing and complex network of tubing and other components and is more expensive than surface drip irrigation system. The process has been proven to have higher efficiency than that of surface drip with reduced energy usage. However, it is not suitable for cultivating crops with aggressive root systems such as asparagus, sweet potato and celery. Since most of the pipe framework of the system is buried 12-24 inches below the surface, the system is less prone to damage from rodents and insects as compared to surface drip systems.
Installation of micro irrigation systems requires high initial capital cost as compared to traditional irrigation methods. High-efficiency systems like sprinklers and drip irrigation equipments are far more costly than gravity based furrow irrigation techniques. Due to high capital expenditure, growers of low-value crops restrain from investing in rather expensive irrigation systems. Another cost consideration for agricultural producers when selecting an irrigation system is the cost of developing a water supply. High-efficiency pressure systems are commonly installed in areas where there is a heavy reliance on groundwater. Alternatively, areas with adequate surface water supplies are less likely to adopt efficient irrigation systems because low water development costs make gravity irrigation economically feasible. In micro irrigation systems, clogging of emitters or sprinklers have been found to be a major challenge. Due to salinity and other impurities found in ground water in many regions, the conventional dripper and sprinklers gets choked due to deposition of salt and impurities over a period of time. Clogging increases the cost of maintenance as it requires the farmers to replace the clogged emitter. Maintenance of micro irrigation systems, especially surface and subsurface drip irrigation systems is more intensive that that of conventional irrigation systems. Individual components of the systems such as sprinklers, emitters, drippers and other equipments are prone to wear and tear due to their regular usage. As a result, replacement cost is also high, especially in case of drip irrigation systems in which drippers/emitters or driplines usually have a lower life span.
The micro irrigation system in the US is an emerging market and is at its growing stages at the moment. High efficiency and yielding capacity of these systems have allowed micro irrigation equipments to gain a lot of traction in the country. The industry is quite concentrated with a bunch of players comprising for a major bulk of the overall market. Lindsay and Valmont together accounted for over ~% of the total market in terms of revenue, as of 2015. Lindsay emerged as the market leader by registering market share of ~% in 2015 whereas Valmont accounted for ~% of the market share during the same time. Both these companies specialize in developing and marketing center pivot and lateral moveable sprinkler irrigation systems for irrigation medium-large areas of farmlands. Netafim, The Toro Company and Jain Irrigation registered a market share of ~%, ~% and ~% in 2015. Several other companies including T-L Irrigation, Rain Bird Corporation, Reinke, EPC Industries, Nelson Irrigation and many more together comprised for the remaining market share of ~% in 2015.
What Has Been the Major Growth Drivers for the US Micro Irrigation Market?
Agriculture has been a major user of ground and surface water in the US, such that it accounted for over ~% of the country’s consumptive water use and over ~% in many agriculturally rich western states. Between 2008 and 2013, irrigation was discontinued on over 470,000 acres of farm land due to surface and ground water shortages. Growing demand for agricultural water coupled with prolonged drought has led to the demand for improved and technologically superior micro irrigation systems in the US. Micro irrigation systems have been proven to be about 70-95% more efficient than gravity irrigation techniques in delivery and conservation of water. Water utilization of States implementing micro irrigation systems have been found to be considerably lower as compared to those utilizing gravity or flood irrigation techniques. Flood or gravity irrigation requires a lot of labor input for construction of furrows, operation and maintenance as compared to sprinkler or drip irrigation techniques. Labor is rather expensive with average labor rate per hour per farm being about USD 11-12 in the US. Micro irrigation requires technical expertise and considerably lesser labor intensive since irrigation, fertigation and chemigation are all done by using mechanized equipments and require much lesser maintenance. Due to non availability of cheap labor in the US, micro irrigation systems have gained traction in the recent times.The implementation of micro irrigation system has increased the irrigation efficiency by enabling greater precision for water application. This has reduced the cost of production and ensured that all areas of a field are more evenly watered. Farmers have achieved 40-60% incline
in crop yields with the installation of micro irrigation systems in the same hectares of land. Micro irrigation has allowed the producers to grow higher value crops such as fruits to achieve higher profitability and cultivate crops round the year. As a result, it has not only reduced the cost of applying water but has also prevented problems related to overwatering, such as increased disease and pest activity, root damage, and reduced yields. Moreover, energy usage with micro irrigation systems has been found to be lesser by ~ KWh/hectare depending upon the crop along with ~-~% reduction in fertilizer and pesticides costs. Declining total area under irrigation in the country has also forced agricultural growers and government agencies to encourage utilization of efficient micro irrigation techniques so as to achieve greater yield per hectare of land. This has aided in the growth of the micro irrigation industry and adoption of superior micro irrigation equipments in the country. The federal government assisted a large number of agriculture producers with better irrigation practices including micro irrigation by providing them financial assistance, and technical assistance.
Which Segment is Expected to Perform Better in the US Micro Irrigation Market?
Sprinkler irrigation systems have had a dominant market share as compared to drip irrigation systems in the US and are expected to continue to account for a larger market share in the forecasted period between 2016 and 2020 as well. This is primarily due to the potential of sprinkler systems to effectively irrigate large farmlands in the country. Drip irrigation systems are far more expensive and are ideal for installation in small farms due to their higher capital cost and maintenance. However, they are more efficient irrigation systems utilizing much lesser water and fertilizers and also prevent weed growth. Owing to the superior efficiency of drip irrigation systems, they are expected to witness higher adoption as compared to sprinkler systems in the forecasted period. Market share of drip systems in the micro irrigation market is anticipated to incline from ~% in 2015 to ~% in 2020.
The micro irrigation industry in the US grew rapidly during 2010-2015 owing to superior efficiency of the systems in water usage and crop yields, easy implementation of fertigation and chemigation, lesser labor requirements and minimized fertilizer / nutrient loss. Several beneficial attributes of micro irrigation systems coupled with water scarcity and drought situations in many states are likely to catalyze the growth of the micro irrigation industry in the near future. The net farm income of the US is expected to decline for the third straight year by ~% in 2016, with recovery expected in 2017. Hence, in the short term farmer sentiments on investing in micro irrigation system is anticipated to remain low and the industry is forecasted to grow at slower pace as compared to 2010-2015. Nevertheless, net farm income is forecasted to witness positive growth post 2017 and subsequently augment the growth of the micro irrigation industry in the long term. The micro irrigation market is expected to grow from USD ~ million in 2016 to USD ~ million in 2020 at a CAGR of ~% between 2015 and 2020.