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Agriculture Irrigation Costs App

A10002-2        A10002

Another new University of Nebraska–Lincoln mobile app can calculate ownership and operating costs for your irrigation system. IrrigateCost models center pivot and gated pipe irrigation systems and the most commonly used energy sources. The user inputs information such as acres irrigated, pumping lift, system PSI, pump and pivot life, and inches applied as well as related costs such as for the well and engine, labor, energy, district fees, and taxes. The app (UNL A10002) then calculates total irrigation cost as well as total ownership and total operating costs.  It also breaks down costs by irrigation well, pump, gear head, pump base, diesel engine and tank and system and calculates per acre annual cost and per acre-inch annual cost.

Results for different energy sources are displayed on separate tabs, allowing you to make side-by-side comparisons between energy options.

The calculator is also helpful when computing a fair crop-share rental agreement. Parties often will list all the contributions required for crop production in a table (land, irrigation system, machinery, labor, crop inputs, etc.). By using two columns (one for the landowner and one for the tenant) costs can be determined for each on the inputs. The columns are totaled and a percentage is determined for the landowners and tenants contributions. The "fair" rental arrangement would be to divide the crop on the same percentage as the contributions that each party has made.

The costs of owning and operating the irrigation system are some of the most difficult to identify when analyzing irrigated crop share arrangements. Much of the total cost of irrigation results from ownership costs and a large percentage of ownership costs are not annual out-of-pocket costs but rather hidden costs, such as return on capital investment, depreciation, taxes, and insurance. This app calculates ownership costs for each irrigation system component such as the well, pump, gear head, power unit and the irrigation distribution system.

Additional uses include:

Results are anonymous but can be captured and emailed to yourself.


Thomas Dorn, UNL Extension Educator Emeritus


Cost: $1.99