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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Yield Response to Soil Warming: Economic Feasibility1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 67 No. 6, p. 794-798
    Received: Nov 25, 1975

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  1. W. E. Schimisseur,
  2. L. Boersma and
  3. K. A. Rykbost2



The development potential of soil warming with power plant waste heat is evaluated and major determinants to development are identified by evaluating the economic feasibility of producing selected crops by soil warming. Yield responses to soil warming were identified from a series of test plot experiments. Crop values and soil warming production costs are specific to Willamette Valley, Ore., in 1973. The capital cost of a soil warming installation consisting of 5.08 cm diameter PVC pipes buried 90 cm deep at 183 cm centers with supply lines and pumps was estimated to be $8,213/ha. The annual amortization would be $847 or $l,242/ha at interest rates of 10 and 15%. Additional operating and maintenance costs would result in total annual costs of $927 or $l,407/ha at opportunity costs of 10 and 15%.

Only high value crops could be profitably produced using soil warming. The economic potential of the proposed production technique is limited by the high capital cost of the installation. This potential could be improved by decreasing installation costs through the use of wider spacings, by selection of crop cultivars more responsive to soil warming, and by accepting lower interest rates on the invested capital.

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