Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Sizable annual variation in agricultural production and income has long been an obstacle to long-range, agriculturally orientated economic planning and development in the Northern Great Plains states. Paramount as a cause of this obstacle is the inconsistency of crop yields primarily due to annual fluctuations, sometimes severe, in the quantity and seasonal distribution of rainfall. Irrigation is the logical solution for stabilizing agricultural production and income. The development of sprinkler irrigation has the advantages of little or no requirement for land-shaping and of allowing rather exact application of uniform quantities of water. As such it has been considered for some time as a promising means of combating production and income variability in the Eastern Missouri Slope Area of South Dakota. Serious in-depth consideration of this development has been severely hampered, if not in some cases precluded, by the noticeable lack of current economic planning data on the effects of sprinkler irrigation. Formulation of such a body of data is complicated by the existence of numerous types and variations of sprinkler irrigation systems. Each system differs from the others in such basic considerations as the type of land and crops the system is designated to most efficiently irrigate and in the capital and labor requirements of the system. Further complicating the formulation of such a body of data is the rapidly changing technological development and advances being made in the manufacture and improvement of the irrigation systems themselves. This presents the economic planner, whether he is the researcher compiling the data or the individual applying the data, with a continuously changing selection of sprinkler irrigation systems from which to choose. To be of maximum usefulness, economic planning data pertaining to the application of sprinkler irrigation to the agricultural processes of the Eastern Missouri Slope Area of South Dakota must accurately examine the effects of irrigation upon the entire farm firm and not just upon isolated enterprises within the firm. Such an examination requires, to the greatest degree possible, a complete consideration of at least the major variables used in the farm firm's production activities. Significant among these are the capital requirements and availabilities, the labor requirements and availabilities, the soil conditions and types, the crops and their production responses, the livestock alternatives and their returns, and the most current price information possible.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Sprinkler irrigation -- South Dakota
Irrigation farming -- South Dakota



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University