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Agricultural irrigated land-use inventory for Jackson, Calhoun, and Gadsden Counties in Florida, and Houston County in Alabama, 2014

Open-File Report 2015-1170

Prepared in cooperation with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
By:
and
https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20151170

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Abstract

A detailed inventory of irrigated crop acreage is not available at the level of resolution needed to accurately estimate water use or to project future water demands in many Florida counties. This report provides a detailed digital map and summary of irrigated areas for 2014 within Jackson, Calhoun, and Gadsden Counties in Florida, and Houston County in Alabama. The irrigated areas were delineated using land-use data and orthoimagery that were then field verified between June and November 2014. Selected attribute data were collected for the irrigated areas, including crop type, primary water source, and type of irrigation system. Results of the 2014 study indicate that an estimated 31,608 acres were irrigated in Jackson County during 2014. This estimate includes 25,733 acres of field crops, 1,534 acres of ornamentals and grasses (including pasture), and 420 acres of orchards. Specific irrigated crops include cotton (11,759 acres), peanuts (9,909 acres), field corn (2,444 acres), and 3,235 acres of various vegetable (row) crops. The vegetable acreage includes 1,714 acres of which 857 acres were planted with both a spring and fall crop on the same field (double cropped). Overall, groundwater was used to irrigate 98.6 percent of the total irrigated acreage in Jackson County during 2014, whereas surface water and wastewater were used to irrigate the remaining 1.4 percent.

Irrigated cropland totaled 3,060 acres in Calhoun County; 4,547 acres in Gadsden County; and 10,333 acres in Houston County. In Calhoun County, sod accounted for the largest irrigated acreage (1,145 acres) followed by peanuts (886 acres). In Gadsden County, ornamentals accounted for the largest irrigated acreage (1,104 acres) followed by cotton (977 acres). In Houston County, cotton accounted for the largest irrigated acreage (4,310 acres) followed by peanuts (2,493 acres). Overall, an estimated 49,548 acres of land were irrigated during 2014 in the four counties inventoried. About 45,052 acres were irrigated by a center pivot, permanent or solid overhead fixtures, or a portable or traveling gun. In all, 650 center pivot irrigation systems were identified, and the calculated acreage under these pivots totaled 43,070 acres. There were 405 center pivot irrigation systems counted in Jackson County during the 2014 field verification followed by Houston with 197, Gadsden with 48, and Calhoun with 10. An estimated 35,087 acres of field corn, cotton, peanuts, and sorghum were irrigated by center pivot systems during 2014 in these four counties combined. Vegetable acreage for the four counties combined totaled 6,699 acres, with 54 percent being irrigated by a drip irrigation system and the remaining 46 percent irrigated by a center pivot or traveling gun.

The irrigated acreage estimated for Jackson County in 2014 (31,608) is about 47 percent higher than the 2012 estimated acreage published by the USDA (21,508 acres). The estimates of irrigated acreage field verified during 2014 for Calhoun and Gadsden Counties are also higher than those published by the USDA for 2012 (86 percent and 71 percent, respectively). In Calhoun County the USDA reported 1,647 irrigated acres while the current study estimated 3,060 acres, and in Gadsden County the USDA reported 2,650 acres while the current study estimated 4,547 acres. For Houston County the USDA-reported value of 9,138 acres in 2012 was 13 percent below the 10,333 acres field verified in the current study. Differences between the USDA 2012 values and 2014 field verified estimates in these two datasets may occur because (1) irrigated acreage for some specific crops increased or decreased substantially during the 2-year interval due to commodity prices or economic changes, (2) irrigated acreage calculated for the current study may be estimated high because irrigation was assumed if an irrigation system was present and therefore the acreage was counted as irrigated, when in fact that may not have been the case as some farmers may not have used their irrigation systems during this growing period even if they had a crop in the field, or (3) the amount of irrigated acreages published by the USDA for selected crops may be underestimated in some cases.

Suggested Citation

Marella, R.L., and Dixon, J.F., 2015, Agricultural irrigated land-use inventory for Jackson, Calhoun, and Gadsden Counties in Florida, and Houston County in Alabama, 2014: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015–1170, 14 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20151170.

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Map Development and Data Sources
  • Field Verification, Limitations, and Crop Delineation
  • Results
  • Further Information
  • Acknowledgments
  • Selected References

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Agricultural irrigated land-use inventory for Jackson, Calhoun, and Gadsden Counties in Florida, and Houston County in Alabama, 2014
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
2015-1170
DOI:
10.3133/ofr20151170
Year Published:
2015
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
FLWSC-Orlando
Description:
Report: 14 p.; Appendix; GIS Shape Files
Country:
United States
State:
Alabama, Florida
County:
Calhoun County, Gadsen County, Houston County, Jackson County
Online Only (Y/N):
Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
Y