Traveler Gun Irrigation of Field Grown Nursery Stock
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Publisher:Ohio State University. Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics
Series/Report no.:Ohio State University. Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology. ESO (Economics and Sociology Occasional Paper). No. 1536
The objective of this study was to determine annual irrigation costs for field-grown plants in Ohio by species of plant and size of firm. This objective was accomplished by synthesizing two model field nurseries using an economic engineering approach. Once the nurseries were simulated, growing space was divided into five equal parts with each segment being assigned a plant group. In the 50-acre nursery each group was allocated 8 acres of field production plus corresponding space in the propagation house, overwintering facility, holding area, and field bed area. In the 200-acre nursery each plant group was allocated 35 acres, plus corresponding space in the central facility. In each plant group, one specific species was chosen as representative for the group. Total costs of installing irrigation systems were estimated at about $82,500 for a 50-acre field nursery and $167,800 for a 200-acre field nursery. Total annual costs for irrigating the 50-acre nursery were $15,095. Irrigation costs per salable plant (represents the total costs of irrigating the plant from the time it is placed in the field bed as a liner until sale) were $0.73 for slow growing evergreens (Taxus), $0.52 for fast growing evergreens (Juniperus), $0.49 for deciduous shrubs (Viburnum), $1.62 for shade trees (Acer rubrum), $1.11 for ornamental trees (Malus), and averaged $0.73 for all species, In the 50-acre nursery, costs of irrigation were approximately 3.3% of the total costs of production. In the 200-acre nursery total annual costs of irrigation were $35,355. Per salable plant costs were $0.39 for slow growing evergreens (Taxus), $0.28 for fast growing evergreens (Juniperus), $0.26 for deciduous shrubs (Viburnum), $0.86 for shade trees (Acer rubrum), $0.59 for ornamental trees (Malus), and averaged $0.39 for all species. Costs of irrigation were about 2.9% of total annual costs for the 200-acre nursery. Costs of irrigation averaged approximately 87% higher per salable plant in the 50-acre nursery than in the 200-acre. Large-size commercial field nurseries use equipment and labor more efficiently than small-sized nurseries. As a result, large nurseries have a lower cost of irrigation per salable plant.