Ray Massey and Mary Sobba
University of Missouri Outreach and Extension and Commercial Agriculture Program

This is the 24th year the University of Missouri has collected data from Missouri farmers on irrigation performance. The data presented here are the average values for 33 irrigation systems that responded to our December 2001 survey. Individual farms may report more than 1 system. Irrigation systems located in the southeast region of Missouri are not included in this report.

The number of surveys returned was less than last year but the types of systems. About 1/5 of the respondents indicated that they did not irrigate this year. Survey respondents included 29 irrigation systems irrigating corn and 23 systems irrigating single-crop soybeans in Missouri in 2001.

Respondents reported that corn yields from land irrigated with an average of 4.3 inches of water exceeded dryland corn yields by only 21 bushels. Irrigated single-crop soybean yields exceeded dryland yields by 7.8 bushels, with 3.8 inches of water being applied.

Eighty four percent of the systems were fixed center pivots; 13% were towable center pivots and 3% were traveling gun. Pumping power was predominately diesel (59% of the systems), followed by 36% of the systems using electricity. Ninety four percent of the respondents reported that their irrigation water supply was adequate. Sixty five percent of those that used reservoirs reported that their reservoirs were full in June.

The bottom of this report contains crop budgets using this survey data, average Missouri production costs and loan rate crop prices. Other government payments are not included. This year the net return to land and management for corn was $-34.94/acre; single crop soybeans resulted in $37.59/acre. Without government program payments returns to land and management are unprofitable for the amount of investment in crop production. The income change due to irrigation was negative for both corn and soybeans (see bottom table). The additional yield attributed to irrigation was not enough to pay for the additional variable costs of irrigation.

2001 Irrigation Survey Crop Details

Single-crop Soybeans
Number reporting2923
Average acres irrigated110114
Irrigated yield/acre (bushels)16051.4
Dryland yield/acre (bushels)13943.6
Increase (bushels/acre)217.8
Times irrigated4.13.4
Total inches applied4.33.8

Missouri 2001 Irrigation Survey (excluding Bootheel)

Types of Systems
    Center Pivot fixed84%
    Center Pivot towable13%
    Traveling gun3%
Types of Water Supplies
    Combination, reservoir/stream/well10%
Types of Pumping Power
2001 Average Fuel Cost per Acre Inch:
    Electricity (8 systems)$3.05
    Diesel (8 systems)$2.07
    Average (17 systems)$2.54
2001 Repair Costs:
    Average per farm (23 farms)$1,230
    Average per acre (112 acres/farm)$10.98
Water Supply Adequate?94% yes
Reservoir full in June?65% yes
1992-2001 Survey Corn Yields, 10-year average:
    Irrigated153.3 bushels/acre
2001 Average Corn Planting Rate:
    Irrigated27983 stalks/acre
    Dryland24759 stalks/acre
1992-2001 Survey Soybean Yields, 10-year average:
    Irrigated49.9 bushels/acre

2001 Irrigated Crop Budgets (per acre)
    Yield/acre (bushels)16051.40
    Gross income/acre$302.40$269.85
Operating Costs: 
    Fertilizer and lime51.509.50
    Machinery fuel, repair etc.38.0023.00
    Labor and Miscellaneous48.0040.00
    Drying @10/bushel16.000.00
    Irrigation fuel ($2.54/acre inch)10.929.65
    Irrigation repairs10.9810.98
    Interest (9% x operating costs)$10.44$6.13
      Total operating costs/acre$242.34$142.26
Ownership Costs: 
    Irrigation Equipment50.0050.00
      Total ownership costs/acre95.0090.00
Total Non-Land Costs/Acre$337.34$232.26
Return to Land and Management/Acre($34.94)$37.59

2001 Income Change Due to Irrigation (per acre)
Added Income 
    Yield/acre (bushels)21.07.80
    Gross income/acre$39.6940.95
Operating Costs: 
    Fertilizer and lime10.003.00
    Drying @10/bushel2.10 -
    Irrigation fuel ($2.54/acre inch)10.929.65
    Irrigation repairs10.9810.98
    Interest (9% x operating costs)$1.89$1.29
      Added operating costs/acre$43.89$29.92
Added Income over Added Costs($4.20)$11.03
Ownership Costs: 
    Irrigation Equipment$50.0050.00
Added Return to Land and Management/Acre($54.20)($38.97)