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Low Energy Spray Application (LESA) Field Test

​BPA, in conjunction with other agencies, is seeking agricultural producers to participate in a demonstration pilot to understand the regional viability and suitability of the ​Low Energy Spray Application (LESA) irrigation technology for broader deployment in the Northwest.
A LESA system will save water, save energy, reduce fertilizer requirements, and has the potential to improve crop yield; a high-value proposition for everyone involved. Agencies involved include the Bonneville Power Administration, Washington State University, the University of Idaho, as well as pivot and sprinkler head manufacturers and dealers.

​Participation Details
  • LESA is not universally applicable to all topography, soil types and irrigation practices. Therefore candidates will be screened to assess the applicability of LESA on fields. Notably LESA involves more than just the hardware by which water is applied.
  • Looking for producers with cultivation sites in Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Idaho to volunteer for a demonstration pilot using Low Energy Spray Application.
  • LESA applies water more efficiently to crops, reducing overall water use and associated energy for pumping. This project is looking for all types of crops including: mint, alfalfa, grains, potatoes, and other low growing field crops.
  • Volunteers will be screened based on the suitability of their land’s soil and topography.
  • Producers need to sign participation agreements by mid-November; followed by site visits and interviews by end of year. Equipment installed between February and April. The demonstration project occurs over three years at each site.
  • Benefits to the volunteer include lower energy and water use; potential for less fertilizer use and higher yield.
  • There is no direct cost for participation. Indirect costs may include changes to cultivation practices; opening demonstration sites to other producers; reporting yield information to researchers; and harvesting LESA crops separately from other crops.
  • Utilities may benefit from regional publicity about the project. Researchers will know quickly if the location is not suited for LESA, avoiding negative experiences and publicity. The producers may keep the equipment that is installed on their farm after the project.
  • LESA requires certain cultivation practices (see Participant Requirements below). Agricultural customers who already practice conservation tillage won’t have to drastically change cultivation practices.
  • Electricity savings will range from 15 to 35 percent, depending on the distance and elevation water is pumped. Across the board, water savings will be about 15 percent.
  • A potential downside to LESA is runoff and erosion, and volunteers will be screened to include those with sandy soils.