Crop choice and irrigation technology d ecisions what are the future regional hydrological impacts
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Crop choice and irrigation technology d ecisions: what are the future regional hydrological impacts?. Michael Brady and Jon Yoder Bioearth Integration Seminar. Research Questions/Ideas. How do previous decisions constrain changes in crop and irrigation technologies?

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Michael Brady and Jon Yoder Bioearth Integration Seminar

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Crop choice and irrigation technology d ecisions what are the future regional hydrological impacts

Crop choice and irrigation technology decisions: what are the future regional hydrological impacts?

Michael Brady and Jon Yoder

Bioearth Integration Seminar


Research questions ideas

Research Questions/Ideas

  • How do previous decisions constrain changes in crop and irrigation technologies?

  • What is the impact of changes in cropping patterns on consumptive use via irrigation technology?

  • What is the impact of increased water scarcity on crop choice?

  • Forecast 10, 20, or 30 years ahead the effect of changes in food market conditions (e.g. prices, trade) on water scarcity in the Yakima Basin.


Direction of effect goes both ways

Direction of effect goes both ways

  • More rapid crop change may increase consumptive use because it allows producers to change their irrigation delivery system (technology).

    • Relative Crop PricesCrop Change  Irrigation ChangeIncrease Consumptive Use

  • Increased water scarcity increases the return from investing in more efficient irrigation systems and less water intensive crops.

    • Less WaterIncrease Consumptive UseIrrigationChangeCrop Change (perhaps)


Previous research

Previous Research

  • A lot of work done in California, but also in the Great Plains (fewer crop choices).

  • Aggregate data:

    • Higher water cost increases the likelihood of adopting more efficient irrigation technology (Caswell and Zilberman, 1985).

    • Land quality influences technology choice to a greater extent than water cost (Negri and Brooks, 1990).

  • Field-level, single cross-section:

    • Assuming technology choice is conditional on crop choice, Green and Sunding (1997) find that the relative influence of land quality and water cost varies by perennial crop type.

  • Field-level, panel data set:

    • Moreno and Sunding (2005) estimate a model that allows them to drop the sequential assumption. Results point towards financial drivers for increased water use efficiency as the dominant factor.

    • Kandouri et al. (2006) introduce uncertainty over water availability in drought years into decision making. Studying farmers in Crete, find that risk management is important factor influencing irrigation technology choice.

  • **I have not found an example of an empirical economic analysis linked with an engineering model to forecast basin-wide hydrological impacts of increased consumptive use driven by economic factors (relative profitability of each crop and return on investment in more efficient irrigation system).


Michael brady and jon yoder bioearth integration seminar

Construction of field-level panel data set for the Yakima Basin from 2007 to 2011 using the WSDA data


Michael brady and jon yoder bioearth integration seminar

Year t+1 Field Centroid (red)

Year t+1 Field Boundary (red)

Year t Field Boundary (black)

Panel is created by spatially joining points in year t+1 with polygons in year t because field boundaries change over time.


Michael brady and jon yoder bioearth integration seminar

Irrigation acreage share by crop group and irrigation technology for 2007

Irrigation acreage share by crop group and irrigation technology for 2011

  • For perennials, increase in vineyards and decrease in orchards.

  • Much greater share of cereal grains irrigated by center pivot and less using rill.

  • Orchard irrigation stayed the sum, BUT orchard acreage shrank.

  • Greater share of vineyards irrigated by drip versus sprinkler because new ground was planted in vineyards.


Michael brady and jon yoder bioearth integration seminar

Crop group and irrigation technology adoption by observation (field,not area).

  • 13,264 observations is the number of fields that were resampled from 2008 to 2011 where 2007 is the first year with data.

  • Almost 30% changed either crop or technology.

  • As expected, change in cropping more common than irrigation.

  • 10% change in irrigation which could be significant over time.


Irrigation technology transitions

Irrigation technology transitions


Net change in crop group and irrigation technology combinations positive changes in red

Net change in crop group and irrigation technology combinations (positive changes in red).


Moving forward

Moving forward...

  • Finish empirical economic analysis of historical data (possibly one paper).

    • Estimate influence of crop prices, growing conditions, and other factors on choice.

  • Forecast basin-wide hydrological impacts of future changes in cropping and irrigation technology (integrated economics-CropSyst/VIC).

    • Forecast future crop/irrigation pattern as a function of future prices and water scarcity.


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