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© 1986, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


Alfalfa has certain water use characteristics. Knowing these and how to monitor soil moisture, apply water, manage irrigation, and schedule water application will help you grow a high quality crop. Irrigation makes it possible to grow high quality alfalfa throughout Nebraska on a wide variety of soils. Alfalfa, relatively drought tolerant, will produce yields almost proportional to the amount of water available to the crop. This means that alfalfa will respond favorably to irrigation. Because of its longer growing season, the seasonal water requirement of alfalfa will be higher than for other crops. Irrigation management must consider characteristics such as water requirements (including total seasonal and daily water use), root system development, and critical stages of growth. In addition, soil characteristics, irrigation system, and available water supply must be considered.