Sorghum Irrigation and Water Information

Pivot Irrigated Sorghum


With rising fuel prices and efforts to more efficiently utilize water for crop production, UNL Extension is working hard to help producers more effectively and efficiently use water resources while maintaining high crop yields. This page contains UNL Extension resources related to sorghum water use and irrigation management.

Since 2003, Nebraska producers have grown approximately 428,000 acres of grain sorghum per year.

  • Of this total, approximately 13% or 55,000 acres were irrigated.
  • Statewide irrigated grain sorghum yields have averaged 111 bushels/acre.
  • Non-irrigated grain sorghum yields averaged 79 bushels/acre during this same period.

Grain Sorghum Irrigation (Texas A&M publication)
Peak water use for sorghum is just prior to boot stage.  Sorghum will use between 20-22 inches of water during the growing season.

Agricultural water users can optimize water use efficiency and protect the quality of water resources by applying basic information about irrigation systems, crop water use and management practices. For optimum water use efficiency and profitability, producers need to monitor rainfall, soil moisture and crop water uses and utilize cropping systems like no-till or reduced tillage to capture and retain as much precipitation as possible.

3 Year Nebraska study in dryland showed sorghum used 2" less ET than dryland corn

Irrigation Resources

For more information on irrigation resources, please see the following pages at http://water.unl.edu.

Irrigation Management

  • Producers working with UNL Extension and local Natural Resources Districts in irrigation management are saving an average of 1.6" of water/year! Find out more about the Nebraska Ag Water Management Demonstration Network and how you, too, can save water and energy in your operation!
  • UNL Irrigation Management for Crops
  • UNL Weather and Evapotranspiration (ET) info.
  • Water.unl.edu

    Your natural resource for reliable water information.