Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




For many years the prospect of irrigation development has captured the minds of farmers, agribusinessmen, and residents of the Eastern Missouri Slope area of South Dakota. The area has shared in the over-all technological advance in agriculture, but agricultural production and incomes have remained highly variable. This variability is generated by inconsistent yields caused by extreme annual fluctuations in the quantity and seasonal distribution of rainfall. Irrigation is the logical solution for stabilizing production and income. In the last decade there has been a major transition from gravity to sprinkler irrigation systems. Economic and physical factors have caused the trend toward sprinkler irrigation. Rising labor costs and more efficient power sources have led farmers to substitute mechanical power and capital investment for farm labor and thus convert to sprinkler irrigation. The current technology in sprinkler irrigation permits the farmer to irrigate shallow topsoil without disturbing it by land leveling. He can sprinkler-irrigate sloping and sandy lands without problems of excessive runoff and soil erosion. Also, the farmer can apply a rather exact, uniform quantity of water where and when needed. As a result of these advantages, land which would have otherwise been considered non-irrigable under gravity irrigation can often be adapted to sprinkler systems. The objectives of the study were: 1.To determine the optimum enterprise combinations and farm organization necessary to maximize returns from the adoption of irrigation in Eastern Missouri Slope area of South Dakota. 2.To determine how the optimum combination of enterprises vary between different systems.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Irrigation -- Economic aspects -- South Dakota.

Number of Pages



South Dakota State University