If you considered irrigation three or four years ago and decided you couldn’t afford it, now might be a good time to take another look.

Not only is irrigation a way to add profit to your operation, but it’s also one of the best methods for reducing the inherent risks of farming, says Max Runge, Auburn University Extension economist.

“There has been more interest in irrigation in the past couple of years because commodity prices are higher, but on the flip side of that, the costs of production also have gone up, meaning that risks have increased,” says Runge.

Not only can producers reduce their risks, but agricultural lenders can do the same, and that’s why bankers are just as interested in irrigation as growers, he says.

“If producers considered irrigation in the past and decided they couldn’t afford it, they might want to look again,” advises Runge.

“Commodity prices have a lot to do with whether or not a farmer can afford irrigation, and they also must consider how much of a loss they could stand if they didn’t have irrigation.”

Increased commodity prices necessitate more intensive management on the part of farmers, he adds.

“Back when soybeans were $6 and corn was $2, you might put out seed and spray one time, and there wasn’t a lot of room for management because it just didn’t pay.

“But current commodity prices make it more worthwhile to manage a crop. It’s been said before — making a profit is neither easy nor cheap, but it’s well worth it,” says Runge.