Question: "What did the first systems sell for? Do you remember the prices?"
     "Well, back in the beginning we were talking about $8- to $10,000. Today a system is close to fifty [$50,000]… It is a substantial investment. But if you're not growing much and you increase the yields of whatever crop you're growing, why they will generally pay for themselves in relatively short order…
     "First of all, the thing that sold it was it made water available to a crop. It made water available to land that was not level that heretofore couldn't really be practically irrigated. And we also had a device that would work on big fields – meaning a 160-acre field that was a typical sized unit – and farmers liked that. And so those were the things that had a great appeal. Plus the fact that a system installed that functioned properly, as it did later on, would greatly enhance an individual farmer's income on that field. And that went on year after year after year. And so that was the economic incentive that made the thing sold. And today I don't know how many hundred countries, or how many countries center pivot is used, but it's used around the world in very, very large quantities. And provided food, as I've said, for lots and lots of people."

Robert Daugherty – First Pivot Systems


Other Excerpts from Robert Daugherty’s Interview:

Omaha Stockyards
The Impact of Pivots
Early Days of Valmont
Pivots Go Worldwide
Making Pivot Systems Work
Pivots Cover Squares
Valmont's Patent Expires