Low Energy Precision Application (LEPA) is a sound strategy for improving pivot irrigation efficiency, reducing energy costs and getting more out of every drop of water you put on your field.

A typical pivot span has sprinklers spaced every 108 inches or so.  With LEPA, the spacing is dramatically reduced to 80, 60, 40 or even 30 inches apart.  But sprinkler spacing is only part of the story.

The drop hoses in LEPA systems are significantly longer, sometimes extending as far as just 12 inches above the field surface.  As a result, the sprinkler heads are under the canopy where the spray pattern is not affected by wind—and evaporation in the hot summer air is reduced.   With standard pivot sprinkler placement, wind and evaporation can lead to 20% to 40% loss in water efficiency. With LEPA, you get better coverage, virtually eliminating the “dead spaces” between spray patterns.

With LEPA, you can achieve up to 98% efficiency in water use compared to 70-80% (at best) with a standard pivot configuration under perfect weather conditions.  When it’s windy, hot and dry, efficiency with a standard pivot drops off dramatically.  That’s not the case with LEPA.

Because LEPA places more sprinklers closer together along the span and those heads are closer to the soil surface, you don’t need as much water pressure to cover the field.  Instead of generating 30 to 40 pounds of pivot pressure to push water through your system, LEPA can deliver optimal water efficiency with just 15 to 20 pounds of pressure.   Think of the energy savings.  When it comes to pivots, pressure equals money.

Yes, there is a cost of entry in terms of the additional sprinklers and longer drops.  And LEPA does require a bit of a plumbing job.   But when you’re looking at significant fuel/energy savings and using even less water more effectively and efficiently, LEPA is worth serious consideration.

Water regulations and allocation are going to be with us and, in some areas, will become even more challenging and restrictive.  Irrigators who get out in front of these water challenges through innovations such as LEPA will not only save money and water today, but will be well positioned to have a competitive advantage in the future.

For more information about LEPA, give us a call at (800) 432.8350.