Ray Massey and Mary Sobba
University of Missouri Extension

This is the 28th year the University of Missouri has collected data from Missouri farmers on irrigation performance. The data presented here are the average values for 31 irrigation systems that responded to our December 2005 survey. Individual farms may report more than 1 system. Irrigation systems located in central Missouri (Audrain, Boone, Callaway, Monroe, Montgomery and Pike counties) are included in this report.

The number of surveys returned this year was up. Survey respondents included 24 irrigation systems watering corn and 21 systems watering single-crop soybeans in Central Missouri in 2005.

Respondents reported that corn yields from land irrigated with an average of 5.89 inches of water produced 157 bushels/acre compared to dryland corn yields of 51.8 bushels/acre. Irrigated single-crop soybean yields exceeded dryland yields by 16.6 bushels (49.5 bu/ac irrigated land vs. 32.9 bu/ac dryland), with 3.0 inches of water being applied.

Sixty-nine percent of the systems were fixed center pivots; 29% were towable center pivots and 2% were traveling guns. Electricity, at 43% 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, 15%.

The water source was as follows: reservoirs were seventy-six percent, wells 12% and a combination of reservoirs and wells 12%. Of those watering out of reservoirs, seventy percent did not have adequate water. Sixteen percent with reservoirs reported that their lakes were not full in June.

Page 4 of this report contains crop budgets using this survey data, University of Missouri crop budgets and 2005 harvest time prices. Other government payments are not included. This year the net return to land and management for corn was negative $82.79/acre; single crop soybeans resulted in $55.75/acre. Returns to land & management for corn was negative due to the lower yield and increased input prices. The returns to land & management for soybeans in 2005 was positive due to higher price. The income change due to irrigation was $94.93 for corn and $24.41 for soybeans (see bottom table of page 4).

2005 Irrigation Survey Crop Details
  Corn Single-crop Soybeans
Number reporting2421
Average acres irrigated125113
Irrigated yield/acre (bushels)15749.5
Dryland yield/acre (bushels)51.832.9
Increase (bushels/acre)105.216.6
Times irrigated6.73.4
Total inches applied5.893.0

Missouri 2005 Irrigation Survey (Central Missouri)
Types of Systems 
 Fixed Center Pivot69%
 Towable Center Pivot29%
 Traveling gun2%
Types of Water Supplies 
 Combination, reservoir/well12%
Types of Pumping Power 
 Combination diesel/electricity11%
2005 Average Fuel Cost per Acre Inch: 
 Electricity (17 systems)$2.32
 Diesel (13 systems)$5.66
 Propane (2 systems)$5.61
 Combination- elec & diesel (6 systems)$3.10
 Average (19 systems)$3.76
2005 Repair Costs: 
 Average per farm (31 farms)$1,237
 Average per acre (130 acres/farm)$9.15
Water Supply Adequate?30% yes
Reservoir full in June?84% yes
1996-2005 Survey Corn Yields, 10-year average: 
 Irrigated161 bushels/acre
 Dryland116.2 bushels/acre
 Difference44.8 bushels/acre
2005 Average Corn Planting Rate: 
 Irrigated28,270 stalks/acre
 Dryland24,854 stalks/acre
1996-2005 Survey Soybean Yields, 10-year average: 
 Irrigated51.1 bushels/acre
 Dryland40.8 bushels/acre
 Difference10.3 bushels/acre

2005 Irrigated Crop Budgets (per acre)
 Yield/acre (bushels)15749.50
 Gross income/acre$298.30$280.67
Operating Costs:
 Fertilizer and lime88.7528.55
 Machinery, fuel, repair etc.97.4862.08
 Labor and Miscellaneous25.0025.00
 Drying @10/bushel15.70 
 Irrigation fuel ($3.76/acre inch)22.1511.28
 Irrigation repairs9.159.15
 Irrigation Equipment40.0040.00
 Interest (9% x operating costs)$14.69$7.96
Total Non-Land Costs/Acre$381.09$224.91
Return to Land and Management/Acre($82.79)$55.75

2005 Income Change Due to Irrigation (per acre)
Added Income
 Yield/acre (bushels)105.216.60
 Gross income/acre$199.88$94.12
Operating Costs:
 Fertilizer and lime10.003.00
 Drying @10/bushel10.52-
 Irrigation fuel ($3.76/acre inch)22.1511.28
 Irrigation repairs9.159.15
 Interest (9% x operating costs)$2.80$1.28
     Added operating costs/acre$64.95$29.71
Added Income over Added Cost$134.93$64.41
Ownership Costs:
 Irrigation Equipment$40.0040.00
Added Return to Land and Management/Acre$94.93$24.41