What is Close Spacing?
Close Spacing is a water-efficient irrigation practice featuring low-pressure LEPA bubblers.
Unlike traditional LEPA systems, where sprinklers are placed 60 to 80 inches apart to irrigate every other furrow, the Close Spacing method distributes water over most of the soil surface with 40 inches or less between heads.
LEPA systems gently deliver water from a height of 8 to 18 inches above the ground to combat wind-drift and prevent evaporation loss. Researchers and growers have found that with LEPA heads, at least 20 percent more water reaches the soil than with conventional spray nozzles.
- Prevent wind-drift and evaporation losses
- Avoid wetting plant canopy in row crops
- Achieve a more uniform root zone coverage
- Can increase yield using less water
- Low pressure systems can reduce pumping costs
- Apply water needed in fewer pivot passes
- Qualifies for government funding in select areas
- Reduce potential rodent damage to crop and equipment over drip systems
LEPA Close Spacing Options
The LDN UP3 Bubbler Pad gently deposits water onto the soil surface in a bubbling stream. This aerated cascading stream resists the effects of wind and evaporation.
The LDN Shroud is used in conjunction with deflector pads containing an insert. Growers can choose either the beige bubble pad insert or the red CM1 pad insert opposite a variety of deflectors based on their soil type and crop. The Shroud deflects the water from the bubbler insert down in a gentle dome-shaped pattern providing complete coverage of the field. Due to its less concentrated distribution pattern, the LDN Shroud can be used on fields without furrows and is often used for germination as well as irrigation.
Success in the Field
Dyer, Nevada - Alfalfa
Triple D Ranch is located in the high valley of Dyer, Nevada. The climate is windy with little to no rainfall and very low humidity.
Declining water tables, increasing pumping costs, as well as wind and evaporation loss led John Maurer, the farm manager, to investigate ways to reduce water use and still retain successful yield levels.
John installed the Senninger LDN with the Shroud and a single pad equipped with the CM1 insert along with 10 psi pressure regulators.
When checking the yield beneath the LEPA bubblers, he saw an increase in production and decided to expand this type of installation to other machines. The next pivot setup with the LDN and Shroud combination became Triple D Ranch’s top producer, driving them to set about converting as many machines as they could, even between cuttings.
Southwest Arizona - Alfalfa & Sugarbeets
In Arizona and Imperial Valley, California summer weather brings temperatures of 118-120 °F, and ET rates range between six-tenths to seven-tenths of an inch a day.
Farmers in the region are irrigating around 6000 hours a year and farming 12 months out of the year, so most are looking for ways to lower their pumping costs.
Southwest Irrigation has been recommending LEPA Close Spacing packages for 25 years -- almost 99% of their sales can be attributed to LEPA technology.
In their experience, a LEPA sprinkler closer to the ground uses less horsepower and less pressure to achieve the same results as a traditional sprinkler that's 3, 4, or 6 feet off the ground. It lets growers irrigate more acres and save money because they can put more water on the ground more efficiently and get a better uniform crop with it.
Mingo, Kansas - Corn, Wheat and Soybeans
Bob Holloway’s farm is in a low gallonage area of Kansas, south of Colby and west of Mingo.
Due to water availability, most farms in this area are only able farm corn in half fields – growing half circles of wheat and corn – on 120-acre field.
Bob’s dealer in Colby, Kansas helped him modify his irrigation installation converting to close spacing sprinklers with shrouds and bubbler pads.
Since converting, Bob has been able to farm 50% more corn (a total of 120 acres) with just 250-300 gpm. The first conversion had a payback of 1 year with $6.50/bu. corn. However, with current $3.00/bu levels that is stretched to 2-3 years for a payback. Much shorter than many other farm machinery investments.
Close Spacing Wins the Irrigation Association's Vanguard Award
Close-Spaced LEPA Installations: Saving Water and Energy and Increasing Yields, was selected in the Agriculture category of the Irrigation Association’s new Vanguard Award.
The Vanguard Award was established in 2017 to honor a team of individuals, companies, organizations or other group entities that have spearheaded or been involved with a completed, innovative installation project in the irrigation industry.