2008 irrigation survey results announced
The 2008 Farm and Ranch Survey nationally counted 54.9 million acres of irrigated land in the United States and 1.2 million acres in Missouri, according to results just released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Since the last Irrigation Survey in 2003, the number of reported irrigated acres in the United States increased nearly 5 percent. In Missouri the number of irrigated acres increased by 16 percent. Irrigation was used on more than 3,600 Missouri farms.
"The Irrigation Survey provides the most comprehensive source of up-to-date information regarding on-farm irrigation and water use in the United States," said Gene Danekas, Director of the NASS Missouri Field Office. "The latest data reveal key trends on the agriculture industry's use and stewardship of our nation's water resources."
Nationally, the irrigation results show a continuing trend towards more irrigated acres with sprinkler systems and fewer acres with gravity irrigation--unlike Missouri which only showed a decrease in drip irrigation usage. Equipment in general continues to be one of the leading expenses of irrigation. In 2008, farmers and ranchers nationally spent $2.1 billion on expenses related to irrigation equipment, facilities, land improvements, and computer technology.
Corn acreage irrigated in Missouri increased by 20 percent as yields increased on these acres by 14 bushels over 2003. Irrigation was used on more than 488,000 acres of soybeans, an increase of nearly 60 percent. Each crop received approximately 3/4 acre-foot of water during 2008, up slightly from 2003 and less than the national average.
"For farmers and ranchers who are looking for more efficient ways to irrigate their land and ways to reduce their expenses, the results of the Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey provide a valuable tool to help them make informed decisions about the future of their operations," said Danekas.
General results of the 2008 Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey are available online at www.agcensus.usda.gov or call 800-551-1014 for more information.
For all NASS reports please visit: www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Missouri/Publications/.