Presented at the Irrigation Conference, Columbia, MO. February 2005
University of Missouri Outreach and Extension and Commercial Agriculture Program
Ray Massey and Mary Sobba

This is the 27th year the University of Missouri has collected data from Missouri farmers on irrigation performance. The data presented here are the average values for 24 irrigation systems that responded to our December 2004 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 one from last year. We received many surveys from farmers who indicated that they did not use their irrigation system this year. Of the acres reported on the survey, about of corn producers indicated they planned to use irrigation but never did; 1/3 of soybean producers indicated they planted with intentions of irrigating but never did. Survey respondents included 15 irrigation systems irrigating corn and 13 systems irrigating single-crop soybeans in Missouri in 2004.

Respondents reported that corn yields from land irrigated with an average of 3.4 inches of water produced 191 bushels/acre compared to dryland corn yields of 175 bushels/acre. Irrigated single-crop soybean yields exceeded dryland yields by 3.4 bushels (55.7 bu/ac irrigated land vs. 52.3 bu/ac dryland), with 2.0 inches of water being applied.

Eighty-three percent of the systems were fixed center pivots; 11% were towable center pivots and 6% were traveling gun. Electricity, at 47% of the systems, was the most prevalent source of pumping power. Diesel powered 37% of the systems; propane 5% and a combination of diesel and electricity, 11%. One hundred percent of the respondents reported that their irrigation water supply was adequate.

Page 4 of this report contains crop budgets using this survey data, University of Missouri crop budgets and 2004 harvest time prices. Other government payments are not included. This year the net return to land and management for corn was $9.07/acre; single crop soybeans resulted in $92.54/acre. Returns to land and management were profitable for both corn and soybeans in 2004, due primarily to good yields - regardless of whether or not irrigation was used. The income change due to irrigation was negative $46.28 for corn and $41.85 for soybeans (see bottom table of page 4).

2004 Irrigation Survey Crop Details

Single-crop Soybeans
Number reporting 15 13
Average acres irrigated 129 106
Irrigated yield/acre (bushels) 191 55.7
Dryland yield/acre (bushels) 175 52.3
Increase (bushels/acre) 16 3.4
Inches/application 0.9 0.9
Times irrigated 3.7 2.2
Total inches applied 3.4 2.0

Missouri 2004 Irrigation Survey (excluding Bootheel)

Types of Systems
    Fixed Center Pivot 83%
    Towable Center Pivot 11%
    Traveling gun 6%
Types of Water Supplies
    Reservoir 59%
    Well 25%
    Lagoon 8%
    Combination, reservoir/stream/well 8%
Types of Pumping Power
    Electricity 47%
    Diesel 37%
    Combination diesel/electricity 11%
    Propane 5%
2004 Average Fuel Cost per Acre Inch:
    Electricity (9 systems) $2.67
    Diesel (7 systems) $3.51
    Average (19 systems) $3.00
2004 Repair Costs:
    Average per farm (22 farms) $630
    Average per acre (118 acres/farm) $5.34
Water Supply Adequate? 100% yes
Reservoir full in June? 94% yes
1995-2004 Survey Corn Yields, 10-year average:
    Irrigated 158.9 bushels/acre
    Dryland 121.4 bushels/acre
    Difference 37.5 bushels/acre
2004 Average Corn Planting Rate:
    Irrigated 29,350 stalks/acre
    Dryland 27,157 stalks/acre
1995-2004 Survey Soybean Yields, 10-year average:
    Irrigated 50.1bushels/acre
    Dryland 41.1 bushels/acre
    Difference 9.0 bushels/acre

2004 Irrigated Crop Budgets (per acre)
    Yield/acre (bushels) $191 $55.70
    Price/bushel $1.90 $5.40
    Gross income/acre $362.90 $300.78
Operating Costs: 
    Seed $0.00 $30.00
    Fertilizer and lime 92.05 27.62
    Machinery fuel, repair etc.85.00 60.00
    Labor and Miscellaneous25.0025.00
    Drying @10/bushel 19.10 
    Irrigation fuel ($3.00/acre inch) 10.20 6.00
    Irrigation repairs 5.34 5.34
    Irrigation Equipment40.0040.00
    Interest (9% x operating costs) $11.73 $7.25
Total Non-Land Costs/Acre $312.42 $208.25
Return to Land and Management/Acre $50.48 $92.54

2004 Income Change Due to Irrigation (per acre)
Added Income 
    Yield/acre (bushels) 16.0 3.40
    Price/bushel $1.90 $5.40
    Gross income/acre $30.40 $18.36
Operating Costs: 
    Seed $0.00 0.00
    Fertilizer and lime10.003.00
    Drying @10/bushel 1.60 -
    Irrigation fuel ($3.00/acre inch) 10.20 6.00
    Irrigation repairs 5.34 5.34
    Interest (9% x operating costs) $1.45 $0.87
      Added operating costs/acre $33.59 $20.21
Added Income over Added Costs ($3.19) ($1.85)
Ownership Costs: 
    Irrigation Equipment$40.0040.00
Added Return to Land and Management/Acre($43.19) ($41.85)