Presented at the Irrigation Conference, Columbia, MO. February 2004
University of Missouri Outreach and Extension and Commercial Agriculture Program
Ray Massey and Mary Sobba

This is the 26th year the University of Missouri has collected data from Missouri farmers on irrigation performance. The data presented here are the average values for 25 irrigation systems that responded to our December 2003 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 down from last year. All of the respondents indicated that they used their irrigation system this year. Survey respondents included 18 irrigation systems irrigating corn and 22 systems irrigating single-crop soybeans in Missouri in 2003.

Respondents reported that corn yields from land irrigated with an average of 5 inches of water exceeded dryland corn yields by 68 bushels. Irrigated single-crop soybean yields exceeded dryland yields by 15 bushels, with 3.8 inches of water being applied.

Eighty percent of the systems were fixed center pivots; 9% were towable center pivots and 11% were traveling gun. Pumping power was evenly split between diesel and electricity (45% each of the systems); the remaining 10% was combination diesel/electricity. Seventy-five percent of the respondents reported that their irrigation water supply was adequate. Eighty-three percent of those that used reservoirs reported that their reservoirs were full in June.

Page 4 of this report contains crop budgets using this survey data, University of Missouri crop budgets and 2003 harvest time prices. Other government payments are not included. This year the net return to land and management for corn was 36.70/acre; single crop soybeans resulted in $112.92/acre. Returns to land and management were profitable for both corn and soybeans in 2003. The income change due to irrigation was positive $73.33 for corn and $43.31 for soybeans (see bottom table of page 4).

2003 Irrigation Survey Crop Details

Single-crop Soybeans
Number reporting1822
Average acres irrigated118107
Irrigated yield/acre (bushels)16344.7
Dryland yield/acre (bushels)9530.0
Increase (bushels/acre)6814.7
Times irrigated5.63.8
Total inches applied5.03.8

Missouri 2003 Irrigation Survey (excluding Bootheel)

Types of Systems
    Fixed Center Pivot80%
    Towable Center Pivot9%
    Traveling gun11%
Types of Water Supplies
    Combination, reservoir/stream/well0%
Types of Pumping Power
    Combination diesel/electricity10%
2003 Average Fuel Cost per Acre Inch:
    Electricity (8 systems)$2.23
    Diesel (8 systems)$2.66
    Average (18 systems)$2.33
2003 Repair Costs:
    Average per farm (25 farms)$443
    Average per acre (107 acres/farm)$4.14
Water Supply Adequate?75% yes
Reservoir full in June?83% yes
1994-2003 Survey Corn Yields, 10-year average:
    Irrigated156.6 bushels/acre
    Dryland114.6 bushels/acre
    Difference42.0 bushels/acre
2003 Average Corn Planting Rate:
    Irrigated28,646 stalks/acre
    Dryland25,960 stalks/acre
1994-2003 Survey Soybean Yields, 10-year average:
    Irrigated49.8 bushels/acre
    Dryland39.4 bushels/acre
    Difference10.5 bushels/acre

2003 Irrigated Crop Budgets (per acre)
    Yield/acre (bushels)16344.70
    Gross income/acre$374.90$320.05
Operating Costs: 
    Fertilizer and lime80.6025.81
    Machinery fuel, repair etc.85.0059.09
    Labor and Miscellaneous25.0025.00
    Drying @10/bushel16.300.00
    Irrigation fuel ($2.33/acre inch)11.658.85
    Irrigation repairs4.144.14
    Irrigation Equipment40.0040.00
    Interest (9% x operating costs)$12.84$7.20
Total Non-Land Costs/Acre$338.20$207.13
Return to Land and Management/Acre$36.70$112.92

2003 Income Change Due to Irrigation (per acre)
Added Income 
    Yield/acre (bushels)68.014.70
    Gross income/acre$156.40105.25
Operating Costs: 
    Fertilizer and lime10.003.00
    Drying @10/bushel5.40 -
    Irrigation fuel ($2.33/acre inch)11.658.85
    Irrigation repairs4.144.14
    Interest (9% x operating costs)$1.85$0.94
      Added operating costs/acre$43.07$21.94
Added Income over Added Costs$113.33$83.31
Ownership Costs: 
    Irrigation Equipment$40.0040.00
Added Return to Land and Management/Acre$73.33$43.31