Main content area

Do climate factors matter for producers’ irrigation practices decisions?

Knapp, Tyler, Huang, Qiuqiong
Journal of hydrology 2017 v.552 pp. 81-91
atmospheric precipitation, climatic factors, data collection, drought, farms, hydrology, sprinkler irrigation, sprinklers, temperature, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi
The study examines whether climatic factors play a role in producers’ irrigation decisions. Empirical analysis uses a set of repeated cross-sectional farm level data collected in three American states: Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Empirical findings provide evidence that climatic conditions are factored into irrigation decisions. For example, higher mean temperature reduces the likelihood of using sprinkler irrigation in the study area. More importantly, findings of this study point to the importance of studying both long-term and short-term climate patterns. Long-term climate patterns weigh more in producers’ decisions regarding the use of sprinklers. Both long-term and short-term climate patterns seem to affect producers’ decisions on the use of WMPs. Producers may respond differently to similar changes in long-term and short-term climate patterns. For example, a higher occurrence of drought in the previous year predicts a higher rate of sprinklers, while an increasing trend of drought occurrence during the previous 30years predicts the opposite. Our findings also highlight the importance of considering various aspects of the climate patterns. Average climate conditions, such as mean temperature and annual precipitation, and the occurrences of extreme weather events, such as droughts and intensive precipitation, have stronger predictive powers of producers’ irrigation decisions than the coefficients of variation. In the study area, the occurrence of intensive precipitation seems to have the strongest impact on producers’ irrigation decisions.