Over the past three years Howard Neibling, a University of Idaho Extension water specialist, has developed a system called Low Elevation Spray Application, or LESA. According to Neibling, research shows the new irrigation system saves a significant amount of water and electricity compared to a traditional pivot irrigation system.
Irrigation pivots in Idaho typically spray water over the top of a crop, about five or six feet off the ground. The LESA system utilizes the same pivot infrastructure, but modifies it with hoses that drop to about a foot off the ground. The hoses are equipped with low-pressure nozzles and spaced five feet apart. That allows watering to occur below the canopy of the crop and ensures it reaches the ground, resulting in less water loss on account of wind and evaporation. Moreover, the reduced water being used means less water needs to be pumped out of the ground, resulting in overall energy savings.
The new system is gaining momentum, as officials with the US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service announced they will pay for some eastern Idaho growers to partially convert to the system this season.
Original article written by Luke Ramseth, Post Register.
Image courtesy of Howard Neibling.