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Farmland with Irrigation

Irrigation & Soil Productivity

Sterling Land Company often times assists in the sale of farmland that includes irrigation. Usually, the value of land is influenced largely by the soil productivity. A simplified way to look at land values is to assume that the higher the soil productivity, the higher the value of the land. Irrigation is a way to equalize the value and make land with lower soil productivity more valuable.Irrigation is a method of artificially watering crops in order to allow them to grow when rainfall is insufficient. This is especially important in times of drought. The ability to water the crops will help them grow regardless of rainfall. With the assurance of water, yields are remarkably consistent on land with irrigation.

Water Sources

Irrigation can be accomplished by utilizing water sources that are close to the property. The point of diminishing returns can be reached quickly when trying to move water over long distances, so the source needs to be near the land. When a river or stream is near, a pump will take water directly from that water source. When no body of water is near, often times a well can be dug. The water is then pumped up and sprayed on the land.

Drought & Dry Laws

States that experience long periods of drought and are historically dry have laws that monitor the amount of water a farmer can use for irrigation purposes. In Illinois, Irrigation is not closely monitored. Since water is almost always an abundant resource here, there is no reason to place restrictions on it.

Soils that normally don’t hold moisture well are perfect candidates for irrigation. Because of their tendency to dry out after a rain, they benefit greatly from a controlled water source. Providing water will likely allow these poorer soils to produce yields on par with higher quality soils.

The Importance of Irrigation for Seed Crops

Irrigation is especially important for growing seed crops. A poor yield can mean a limited supply of seed for the following year. Irrigation helps insure that land dedicated to seed crops will produce high quality yields.

Sterling Land Company has seen an increase in interest for irrigation. On the right land, irrigation is a great choice. Still, not all land will benefit from the introduction of an irrigation system. There are many factors to consider such as the actual improvement in yield that is likely to occur. The layout of the land is another issue. Since the most common irrigators are pivot systems that rotate in a full or partial circle, there needs to be an unobstructed area on which the system can move.

The initial investment in a high quality irrigation system is substantial so they are not all that common in Illinois. Historically, there is enough rain to provide crops with sufficient water for strong growth in most years. Over time, there will be years with insufficient rain. It is during these periods that irrigation will really pay off.

Visit the Sterling Land Company listings page to check for farms with irrigation for sale.

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