It is a common misconception that a drip irrigation conversion will take several years to pay for itself. In fact, farmers and landscapers converting to drip irrigation have realized quick drip irrigation benefits, payback and substantially improved profits.
For example, a corn and soybean farmer in Nebraska installed a drip irrigation system originally believing that the conversion would take over 5 years to pay for itself. But to his surprise, it took less than two years! This is partly because corn prices rose, yields were better than expected and government EQIP funds contributed $330/acre towards the system’s cost. In addition, costs dropped an estimated $160/acre due to reduced fuel, labor, chemical, fertilizer and cultivation expenses. Even without subsidies, these benefits would have paid for the system in a little over three years.
The drip irrigation payback chart below depicts 3 different “payback” scenarios based on actual results: