Capital Press | Water Capital Press Sun, 7 Feb 2016 11:32:05 -0500 en Capital Press | Water IIEA conference showcases latest in irrigation technology Thu, 24 Dec 2015 08:41:19 -0500 The Idaho Irrigation Equipment Show & Conference will showcase the latest information in the irrigation industry.

The free event is Thursday, Jan. 7, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Nampa Civic Center, 311 Third St. South, Nampa. No registration is required.

More than 60 irrigation equipment manufacturers, dealers, and distributors of landscape and agricultural irrigation products will be at the show to display their latest equipment and services.

“This is a great opportunity for growers and landscape irrigation contractors to come and see the latest developments in the industry and find solutions for their irrigation needs,” said Howard Neibling, education chairman.

The event rotates annually between the cities of Nampa, Burley and Idaho Falls.

Idaho Irrigation Equipment Show & Conference

When: Jan. 7, 2016

Time: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Where: The Nampa Civic Center, 311 Third Street South, Nampa, Idaho.


Where to find our exhibitors Thu, 24 Dec 2015 08:41:16 -0500 This is a list of the companies that have purchased booths to display their products at the Idaho Irrigation Equipment Show & Conference, which will be Jan. 7, 2016 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Nampa Civic Center, 311 Third Street South, Nampa, Idaho.

#1 BA Fischer Sales Co. Inc.: Aqua Burst sprinklers, Archer butterfly valves, Dragon filters, Xgate canal gates.

#2 BD Sales & Supply: Specified Fittings (PVC & HDPE pipe fittings), Universal Sales, Irripod, Sparling flow meters.

#3 Cornell Pump Co.: Agricultural pumps.

#4-5 Valmont Industries and Interwest Supply, Inc: Valley Pivot, K-Line North America.

#6 RG Sales: Dura Plastic Products, Firestone PondGard and Commercial Geomembranes, Kasco Marine Fountains and Aeration Systems, Typar Geosynthetics.

#7 Weather Tec: Brass Impact sprinklers and micro-irrigation product information.

#8 JM Eagle: JM Eagle PVC and HDPE plastic pipe. Eagle-Corr drain pipe.

#9 Frank J Martin Co.: “NDS: WE Put Water in its Place,” Kupferle, A.R.I. USA Inc.

#10 Industrial Electric Motor Service Inc.: Baldor, Aurora and Marathon electric motors.

#11 AgSense: Field Commander, Commander VP.

#12 Mitchell Lewis & Staver: Pumps, motors, controls, Berkeley pumps, Danfoss drives.

#13 Rain Bird: Rain Bird agricultural and landscape products.

#14 Komet Irrigation Corp.: Komet innovative irrigation products.

#15 Sprinkler Supply of Idaho: Irritrol products.

#16-17 G&S Sales: Action, Lasco, Milwaukee, Old Castle Precast, Cresline NW, IPS Weld-on, King Innovation, Legend, Universal Lighting.

#18 Pentair: Berkeley, Fairbanks Nijhuis.

#19 Water Logic Technologies: Watertronics Pump Stations, VAF Filtration Systems, Omni-Enviro Water Conditioning, Leemco Mainline Fittings and Valves, Badger Meter

#20 T-L Irrigation Co.: T-L Irrigation Co. irrigation products.

#21 Clemons Sales: Irrigation filters, sand separators, self-cleaning suction screens, check valves, special fabrication. steel pipe fittings.

#22 Naco: Molded PIP and bolt couplers.

#23 Franklin Electric: FPS irrigation pump products, pivot boosters, submersible turbines, centrifugal pumps and controls.

#24 Silver Creek Supply: Irrigation, hardscapes, ponds, lighting.

#25: PivoTrac Monitoring: PivoTrac Monitoring — canal and pivot monitoring and controls.

#26: Matco-Norca: Valves, fittings and nipples.

#27: Toro: Toro irrigation products.

#28: Clearwater Supply: Toro, Rivulis, Nelson, AgSense, Fresno, CH2O.

#29-30: Nelson Irrigation Corp.: The R3030 with the all new 3NV nozzle system, End Sprinkler, TWIG Wireless Control System.

#31 Irrigation Components International: Seametrics flow meters, Prysmian/Draka pivot wire, UMC Products and Durst gear boxes and center drives.

#32 Control Components Northwest and Dykman Electrical: Yaskawa variable frequency drives, Banner wireless sensor network, Red Lion remote data displays, Turck Pressure.

#33 Senninger Irrigation: Senninger sprinklers, spray nozzles and pressure regulators.

#34 Sprinkler Head Rebuilders: Rebuilt sprinklers — Nelson, Rain Bird, Weather Tec.

#35 Droplet Irrigation: T-L Pivots, AgSense Automation, Komet sprinklers, Jain drip irrigation.

#36 Snake River Sales: E-Z Weld products.

#37-38: Robertson Supply Inc. and The Pump House: PACO, Grundfos, Peerless, Wolf Pump, American Marsh, GE & Baldor.

#39 Pipeco: Rain Bird, Hunter, gated pipe fittings/valves.

#40-41 Rain For Rent: Reinke pivots, aluminum pipe, pumps.

#42 Bermad Inc: Control valves, air vents, Automation Control products, filters.

#43 Hunter Industries: Rotors, spray bodies and nozzles, MP Rotators, controllers, valves, micro irrigation, irrigation sensors and irrigation tools.

#44 Travis Pattern/Wade’Rain: Wade’Rain Poweroll; Western Wheel Lines; Rainway, A&M, Western and Felton fittings; Bolt-Tite & Epoxy underground fittings.

#45: Spears Manufacturing Co.: Schedule 40 and Schedule 80 PVC fittings and valves, Ever Tuff turf fittings, Fab fittings, PVC cements and primers.

#46 Branom Instrument Co.: Siemens, Thermo Scientific, WIKA Instrument.

#47 Idaho Power Co.: Irrigation programs.

#48 Energy Management Corp.: Electrical motors, generators, variable frequency drives.

#49 Agri-Lines Irrigation: Zimmatic.

#50 Precision Pumping Systems: VFD/PLC panels, pumping system automation, and remote monitoring packages.

#51 Fresno Valves & Castings: Valves and fittings.

#52 Navigator: Valves and pipe turners.

#53 Buckner Superior: Brass impact sprinklers, electric valves, controllers.

#54-55: XCAD USA: Aqua Burst, X-Gate, Pressure Guard, Thunderbolt End Gun, Black Max, XCAD USA.

#56-57: Mountain West Marketing: V-Rain Sprinkler, Seymour Midwest Tools, Val Plastics.

#58 Krause K Box, Inc.: K Box and Bubble Screen.

#59 Rivulis Irrigation: T-tape.

#60 Inman Interwest: Amiad Filters, Marco Fitting, Wilkins Backflows.

#61 Harco Fittings: PVC fittings.

#62 Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission: Low interest soil and water conservation loans.

#63: Jain Irrigation: Chapin drip tape, Power-Loc and Tape-Loc fittings, Amnon emitter line.

IIEA officers help organization thrive Thu, 24 Dec 2015 08:39:40 -0500 Bob Hand, Nelson Irrigation Corp., is finishing his first year serving as president of the Idaho Irrigation Equipment Association.

Derick Attebury, Rain For Rent, Idaho Falls served as vice president until his appointment as Region 6 (Upper Snake) Idaho Fish and Game commissioner and had to resign.

Loni Monson, Pipeco, Nampa branch, was accountable as treasurer.

Two board members are finishing their terms: Quentin Nesbitt, Idaho Power Co., Boise, and Dallas Jensen, Agri-Lines Irrigation, Parma.

Tawna Root, Layne Pumps, Twin Falls; Cody Kemp, H.D. Fowler Company, Idaho Falls; and Kent Kidd, Valmont Industries, Declo, have another year on their terms.

Dana Duffin, The Sprinkler Shop, Paul, is the immediate past president.

The following members have served as committee chairs for association activities this year:

• Education chair: Dr. Howard Neibling, University of Idaho, Kimberly.

• Scholarship chair: Dirk Leavitt, Valmont Industries, American Falls.

• Ag Membership chair: Jim Mitchell, TRO Inc., Meridian.

• Turf Membership chair: Jim Moyer, Irrigation Design, Meridian.

The chairmen for the 2015 Idaho Irrigation Equipment Show and Conference scheduled for Jan. 7 at the Nampa Civic Center are Monson and Larry Spath, Robertson Supply-The Pump House, Nampa.

Tondee Clark, Boise, has begun her 20th year as secretary of the IIEA.

Seminars feature up-to-date information on key issues Thu, 24 Dec 2015 08:37:33 -0500 A series of technical seminars will be presented during the annual IIEA conference.

Sixteen classes have been approved for the Certified Crop Adviser (*CCA) Continuing Education Credit program in the following categories: Soil and Water (SW) and Pest Management (PM). The following information lists the time the class is given, the course name, teacher, a short course description, classroom, and CCA credit.

Agricultural Irrigation Education

9 a.m.-10 a.m.

1. Save Energy & Money with LESA Technology. Howard Neibling, University of Idaho, will discuss results of using Low Elevation Spray Application (LESA) technology. North Home Federal Room (*1 SW)

2. Remote Telemetry. Manufacturers will discuss new pivot and pump remote monitoring and control products. South Home Federal Room (*1 SW)

11 a.m.-Noon

1. Introduction to Variable Frequency Drives. Craig Hartman, Energy Management Corp., will teach basic theory behind motors operated by VFDs, VFD operation, construction and application. Troubleshooting and meeting utility requirements will also be discussed. North Home Federal Room (*1 SW)

2. Crop Diversity Using Drip Irrigation. Jim Klauser, Clearwater Supply, will lead a discussion on the use of Drip Irrigation in various crops commonly found in the Treasure Valley. South Home Federal Room (*1 SW)

1 p.m.-2 p.m.

1. Water Use in Drip Irrigated Peppermint. Jim Barbour and Jerry Neufeld, University of Idaho Extension Researchers and Educators, will describe installation, operation and management of research plots for comparing water use and mint oil yield in drip, furrow and sprinkler-irrigated mint. Data on water use and yield will be presented. They will also discuss some of the challenges encountered during set up and operation of the irrigation systems. North Home Federal Room (*1 SW)

2. Irrigation Efficiency for Idaho. Dennis Merrick, Idaho Power Company, will discuss irrigation system improvements to maximize efficiency of new or existing systems to increase your bottom line. South Home Federal Room (1 *SW)

3 p.m.-4 p.m.

1. **Food Safety — Pesticide Use and the Public. Sherm Takatori, Idaho State Department of Agriculture. This presentation explains some of the historical uses of pesticides and some of the misuses. The issues with organic foods, pesticide residues in foods and overall food safety in regards to pesticides and pesticide use will also be discussed. North Home Federal Room (*1 PM)

2. Drip Irrigation Systems for Pivots. Jeff Brennan, NETAFIM, will provide a definition of Precision Mobile Drip Irrigation, describe how it works and potential benefits in water management and crop production. South Home Federal Room (1 *SW)

Landscape Irrigation Education

8 a.m.-9 a.m.

1. Troubleshooting an Irrigation System. Steve Eglinton, Pipeco, will review a variety of solutions for problems with controllers, valves and wiring. He will also have a question-and-answer period. North Casler Room (1 *SW)

2. Getting the Most from Your Irrigation Filter. Ed Mathieu, Water Logic Technologies, will teach how to select, size and maintain a filtration system. South Casler Room (1 *SW)

10 a.m.-11 a.m.

1. 8 Keys to Efficient Irrigation & Design/Installation. Guy Collins, Hunter Industries. This class provides education in efficient irrigation methods including: hydraulics, sprinkler selection and placement, precipitation rates, infiltration rates, crop coefficients, distribution uniformity and irrigation scheduling. North Casler Room (1 *SW)

2. Best Practices for Sub Surface Drip in Turf. Cari Snyder, NETAFIM, will discuss best practices for using drip irrigation in turf application, design and maintenance. South Casler Room (1 *SW)

Noon-1 p.m.

1. Installation and Maintenance of Irrigation Pumps. Kevin Johnson, Munro Pump Inc. Proper installation and preventative maintenance is key to pump longevity. This course will discuss verifying that you have the right pump for the job, proper installation and start-up as well as maintenance tests and checks to verify peak performance. North Casler Room (1 *SW)

2. ABC’s to Efficient Irrigation Systems. Kodi Farnworth,

Advanced Irrigation Solutions, will teach how to use 20-60 percent less water and still keep the landscape green. South Casler Room (1 *SW)

2 p.m.-3 p.m.

1. How to Save $13 Million. Steve Carmichael, E-Z Weld. This course will present the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards for correctly applying and utilizing solvent cements with plastic pipe, valves and fittings. North Casler Room (1 *SW)

2. Backflow Basics. Kevin Evans, Inman Interwest, will review backflow devices and the application and requirements for each device. National and local code information will be discussed. South Casler Room (1 *SW)

IIEA awards $18,500 in scholarships to 30 students Thu, 24 Dec 2015 08:37:16 -0500 The Idaho Irrigation Equipment Association awarded $18,500 in scholarships to 30 students for the 2015-2016 school year. These students were selected on the basis of their academic accomplishments, leadership and career goals.

“These students are amazing,” said Dirk Leavitt, 2015 IIEA Scholarship Chairman. “We are able to provide scholarships to college students because of the generous donations of our member companies and from the profits of the Idaho Irrigation Equipment Show and Conference.”

The IIEA has awarded 629 scholarships totaling $380,500 since 1980. The following students received scholarships in 2015:

• Breeanna Attebury McCook, daughter of Derick and Kristin Attebury, Idaho Falls, received a $600 scholarship to pursue her degree in communication at BYU-Idaho. The money for Attebury’s scholarship was donated by the IIEA and Kermit and Candy Cochran.

• Andrew Bingham, son of Harold and Laurie Bingham, Homedale, received a $700 scholarship to pursue his degree in financial economics at BYU-Idaho. The money for Bingham’s scholarship was donated by Matco Norca and Gheen Irrigation Works, Inc.

• Ethan Brandt, son of Jeremy and Maribeth Brandt, Coeur d’Alene, received a $500 scholarship to pursue his degree in biology at the Masters College. The money for Brandt’s scholarship was donated by Matco Norca.

• Hanna Chaffin, daughter of Scott and Kimberly Chaffin, Kirkland, Wash., received a $700 scholarship to pursue her degree in Spanish and elementary education at Boise State University. The money for Chaffin’s scholarship was donated by the IIEA.

• Travis Chase, son of Mike and Donna Chase, New Plymouth, received a $600 scholarship to pursue his degree in agribusiness and soil science at the University of Idaho. The money for Chase’s scholarship was donated by Cornell Pump Co. and Butte Irrigation.

• Morgan Cortez, daughter of Pete and Holly Cortez, American Falls, received a $500 scholarship to pursue her degree in agribusiness at Casper College in Wyoming. The money for Cortez’s scholarship was donated by Lindsay Corp.

• Nicole Davis, daughter of Steven and Laree Davis, Chester, received a $500 scholarship to pursue her degree in agricultural education at the College of Southern Idaho. The money for Davis’ scholarship was donated by Inman InterWest, Inc., Matco-Norca, and Ag Sales.

• Karmella Dolecheck, daughter of Thomas and Suzann Dolecheck, Twin Falls, received a $500 scholarship to pursue her Ph.D. in animal sciences at the University of Kentucky. The money for Dolecheck’s scholarship was donated by Matco-Norca.

• Aaron Emmert, son of Chris and Beverly Emmert, Nampa, received a $500 scholarship to pursue his degree in agricultural business at the University of Idaho. The money for Emmert’s scholarship was donated by Nelson Irrigation Corp.

• McKenzie Forsberg, daughter of Jeff and Carma Forsberg, Caldwell, received a $500 scholarship to pursue her degree in bioveterinary science at Utah State University. The money for Forsberg’s scholarship was donated by Matco-Norca.

• Rachel Gross, daughter of Doug and Joyce Gross, Nampa, received a $600 scholarship to pursue her degree in sustainable cropping & landscape systems at the University of Idaho. The money for Gross’ scholarship was donated by Pipeco and Hastings Irrigation Pipe Co.

• Dillan Henslee, son of Mark and Brenda Henslee, Hagerman, received a $600 scholarship to pursue his degree in agriculture systems management at the University of Idaho. The money for Henslee’s scholarship was donated by Senninger Irrigation, Snake River Sales, and Action Machining.

• Dana Kerner, daughter of Bruce and Julie Kerner, Weiser, received a $500 scholarship to pursue her degree in agricultural business at the University of Idaho. The money for Kerner’s scholarship was donated by Clemons Sales Corp. and JM Eagle.

• Jessica Lancaster, daughter of Mike and Laurie Lancaster, Jerome, received a $700 scholarship to pursue her degree in agricultural education at Colorado State University. The money for Lancaster’s scholarship was donated by Rain Bird-Agri Products Division, The Navigator and Toro.

• Cole Lickley, son of Bill and Laurie Lickley, Jerome, received a $500 scholarship to pursue his degree in agribusiness and marketing at the University of Idaho. The money for Lickley’s scholarship was donated by The Sprinkler Shop.

• Valene Lickley, daughter of Bill and Laurie Lickley, Jerome, received a $600 scholarship to pursue her degree in civil engineering/animal science at Colorado State University. The money for Lickley’s scholarship was donated by Matco-Norca and Layne Pumps Inc.

• Samantha McGhie, daughter of Todd and Carol McGhie of Rupert, received a $1,000 scholarship to pursue her degree in agricultural science at Eastern Oregon University. The money for McGhie’s scholarship was donated by the Bernie Fischer Memorial Scholarship Fund.

• Justin Nesbitt, son of Quentin and Julie Nesbitt, Eagle, received a $1,000 scholarship to pursue his degree in biological & agricultural engineering at the University of Idaho. He is the recipient of the Don Billings Irrigation Memorial Leadership Scholarship sponsored by Rain For Rent.

• Sierra Norman, daughter of Janell Norman and Lee Leslie, Albion, received a $600 scholarship to pursue her degree in psychology at Bryn Mawr College. The money for Norman’s scholarship was donated by the IIEA.

• Kaedy Pardew-Peck, daughter of Ann Pardew-Peck & Bryant Peck, Eagle, received a $500 scholarship to pursue her degree in agribusiness and agricultural economics at the University of Idaho. The money for Pardew-Peck’s scholarship was donated by G&S Sales, Inc.

• Latesha Reed, daughter of Brad and Anita Reed, Idaho Falls, received a $500 scholarship to pursue her degree in agronomy at BYU-Idaho. The money for Reed’s scholarship was donated by Mitchell Lewis & Staver and Waters & Associates.

• Jacob Reinecker, son of Scott and Kim Reinecker, Caldwell, received a $500 scholarship to pursue his degree in agronomy at Kansas State University. The money for Reinecker’s scholarship was donated by Fresno Valves & Castings.

• Jakobie Rogers, daughter of Shawn and Rita Rogers, Rupert, received a $600 scholarship to pursue her degree in animal and veterinary science production at the University of Idaho. The money for Rogers’ scholarship was donated by Valmont Industries and Universal Sales.

• Colby Searle, son of Ron and Dayle Searle, Shelley, received a $1,000 scholarship to pursue his degree in mechanical engineering at Utah State University. The money for Searle’s scholarship was donated by Lindsay Corp. on behalf of Ellis Kay Stanger.

• Heather Skovgard, daughter of Troy and Julie Skovgard, Kuna, received a $600 scholarship to pursue her degree in mechanical engineering at Northwest Nazarene University. The money for Skovgard’s scholarship was donated by T-L Irrigation and Irrigation Accessories Co. (IACO).

• Bailey Storms, daughter of Kevin and Honor’e Storms, Idaho Falls, received a $500 scholarship to pursue her degree in agribusiness at the University of Idaho. The money for Storms’ scholarship was donated by Weather Tec, IPS Weld-On and Matco-Norca.

• Dustin Winston, son of Stoney and Brooke Winston, Caldwell, received a $500 scholarship to pursue his degree in landscape architecture and sustainable crop/plant science at the University of Idaho. The money for Winston’s scholarship was donated by Lake Company.

• Allysha Yasuda, daughter of Roger and Cathy Yasuda, Fruitland, received an $800 scholarship to pursue her degree in biology at the University of Idaho. The money for Yasuda’s scholarship was donated by Travis Pattern & Foundry and Spears Manufacturing.

• Elaine Zabriskie, daughter of Brian and Nancy Zabriskie, Moscow, received a $500 scholarship to pursue her degree in landscape architecture at the University of Idaho. The money for Zabriskie’s scholarship was donated by the IIEA Turf Fund.

• Mathew Zimmerman, son of Don and Sue Zimmerman, Walla Walla, Wash., received an $800 scholarship to pursue his degree in mechanical engineering at Montana State University. The money for Zimmerman’s scholarship was donated by WISH Northwest and Interstate Plastic, Inc.

How to avoid irrigation runoff Thu, 24 Dec 2015 08:36:03 -0500 Jim MoyerIrrigation Design Co. Water is a precious commodity and if you are buying it, why waste it?

Over watering is the result of several overlooked principles — some of which might be resolved simply.

I’d like to suggest six possible scenarios and ways to solve runoff problem.

Problem No. 1: A tight soil. For example, clay type soils will only absorb water at the rate of about .4 inch per hour. Spray heads typically have a precipitation rate of about 1.6 inches per hour.

Suggested fixes:

• Match the sprinkler head precipitation rate with the soil intake rate.

• Shorten run-time on the controller. Some controllers have a “cycle and soak” feature. If you need to run a zone for 20 minutes the cycle and soak feature can be set to run (cycle) for 7 minutes and then soak (rest) for 15 minutes. The zone will then cycle another 7 minutes and soak 15 minutes and then complete the remaining time after 15 minutes have passed.

Problem No. 2: Arc pattern is not correct.

Suggested fixes:

• Check heads for proper arc pattern (1/2, 1/4, 1/3). Select the proper arc for the area to be covered.

• Some nozzles for the heads have adjustable arcs. Nozzles are threaded to the top of a pop-up stem in the head.

Problem No. 3: Slope runoff. Slope is an area of land that is not flat but inclined from a high point to a low point. If the slope in the irrigation area is steep, water and especially over watering promotes runoff.

Suggested fixes:

• Choose low precipitation rate heads, such as stream rotors, that approximate the soil intake rate.

• Shorten run time as suggested above.

Problem No. 4: Low head drainage. A sprinkler head that is at the low side of an incline or slope drains water out of the line and other heads when the zone is turned off.

Suggested fix:

• Many manufacturers produce a low head option to eliminate low head drainage.

Problem No. 5: Selecting incorrect water time for plant. Watering times vary with the type of plant that is being watered.

Suggested Fixes:

• Zone lawn areas and plant materials so that watering requirements don’t overlap.

• Choose the right head for the given area to be watered and the plant type.

• Don’t mix head types or plant types on the same zone.

Problem No. 6: Manufacturers’ recommendations were not followed. Not following the manufacturer’s recommendations may change the range and-or coverage, resulting in dry spots.

Suggested fixes:

• Ideal spacing is when the distance between heads equals the published distance of the range of the head.

• Too much pressure causes misting and limits range.

• Too little pressure interferes with the distribution of water from the head.

• Some valves will accept high pressure regulating devices.

Soil is a growing medium for plant life. A soil that supports a healthy growing environment is 45 percent mineral matter, 25 percent air, 25 percent water and 5 percent organic matter.

Too much water takes up air space and slows growth. It is therefore important to not over water.

With more legislation and regulations, the irrigation industry is under constant change. Manufacturers are improving products and capabilities of materials. The Idaho Irrigation Equipment Association promotes staying abreast of these changes by education, displays at conventions and communication.

There is an effort to educate the public whereby the consumer can learn what can be expected from a sprinkler installation. If hiring a contractor, make sure you discuss the following issues for your particular situation:

• Soil types and intake rate.

• Micro climates that are created by shade or sun exposure or wind.

• Use of appropriate material types.

• Plant growth and type.

• Hydraulic capacity of the source of water.

• A commitment for sound water management and conservation of the water.

Since water is the basis of all we like and enjoy, proper use of this resource is essential.

Jim Moyer is the owner of Irrigation Design, Meridian, Idaho, and the turf membership chairman for the Idaho Irrigation Equipment Association.

Energy Trust lends a hand with irrigation efficiency Mon, 9 Feb 2015 14:24:14 -0500 LACEY JARRELL More consistent water application can mean greater water and power savings for large- or small-scale farmers.

According to Luke Robison, manager of Shasta View Irrigation District in Malin, Ore., when Shasta View installed a variable frequency drive at its seven-pump district station, it allowed them to stabilize water pressure and reduce water fatigue on the delivery system.

He said the device, installed with help from an Energy Trust of Oregon cost-share program, reduced the district’s operating pressure by nearly 20 percent and reduced irrigation costs by about $60,000 annually.

Robison noted the pressure reduction didn’t make less water available, but it allowed water managers to distribute the water more efficiently. He said the VFD works like a cruise control, automatically compensating for pump variation and changes in pressure.

Robison said Energy Trust covered roughly half of the $216,000 project.

Doug Heredos, Energy Trust program manager for agriculture, said the Shasta View project is considered larger than average, but it’s not uncommon for the organization to pay 50 percent of VFD projects.

Energy Trust’s irrigation incentives are designed to encourage farmers to grow crops more efficiently with less energy, he added. Water savings can be an additional benefit, along with labor and fuel savings.

“Oftentimes, the water, labor and fuel savings are just as valuable to the grower as the energy efficiency benefits,” Heredos said.

Seus Family Farms owner Scott Seus, said he has installed in several on-farm VFD pumps on his wells in Oregon and California.

“That’s where you save because you can fine tune the settings,” he said.

“Instead of the old way, which was just go turn on a switch and what you get is what you get, you can change the setpoint to how many gallons per minute you are pulling,” Seus said. “You only draw out of the ground what you are actually using.”

Farmer Gary Derry said in most cases one VFD provides enough to flexibility to achieve farm goals. He explained that the pump can be programmed to compensate for full-demand or partial deliveries, depending on farm needs. Derry said most irrigation systems run on maximum pressure, meaning water is commonly over-pumped.

“You only have one speed — it’s on or off,” Derry said. “With the variable speed you’re more consistent with what you do pressure-wise and water delivery-wise.”

Derry noted that even with a cost-share program, VFDs are expensive to buy and maintain. He advised understanding immediate farm needs and long-term goals before investing in large projects like these.

Most Energy Trust customers work directly with local irrigation vendors, according to Heredos. He said the collaboration helps farmers identify the size and type of VFD they need and it helps ensure it will meet the efficiency standards to qualify for an Energy Trust incentive.

Seus said for farmers, electricity and water will always be inextricably linked.

“We benefit by producing better crops, by using better distribution uniformity, and using the water where it’s needed, when it’s needed — with the lowest cost of energy,” he said.

District ‘drives’ to improve water uniformity, efficiency Mon, 9 Feb 2015 14:23:19 -0500 Erick Peterson A major cost of irrigating cropland is the electricity used to pump water, and the Benton Conservation District in Washington state provides financial incentives to help farmers reduce their power costs and save water.

The district recently paid $50,000 in cost-share assistance for a 1,000-horsepower variable frequency drive for the water pump. The drive changes the frequency of the electricity going to the pump, changing the speed it operates.

The drive was installed at the start of the last growing season.

The drive represents a major step forward, Mark Nielson, Benton Conservation District director said, as it helps maintain an otherwise difficult balance.

“In the old days, if you have too many pivots, your pressure would drop and you would get poor water uniformity,” Nielson said. “Conversely, if you have too many pumps running, you have too much water pressure and that chews up energy.”

The variable drive speeds up when more pivots are running and slows down as pivots are shut off, thereby maintaining optimal water pressure in the pivots.

“And the more you uniformly you apply water, the more water savings you create,” said Heather Wendt, assistant manager of the Benton district.

This is good for savings and conservation, she said.

The district installed the drive on Berg Farms, in the Horse Heaven Hills in Benton County. It saves an estimate 646,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, she said.

After “minimal fine-tuning,” the landowners were pleased, she said.

“They love it,” she said. “They’re thrilled with it.”

When the drives were first developed, they were most common in locations such as the Horse Heaven Hills, where water had to be lifted from rivers. They were not often used in the nearby Yakima Valley or Franklin County, where canals carry water to farms.

Now, as their prices have dropped, the drives are becoming more common, Nielson said.

“You’re seeing these more often in places,” he said, “and we’re happy to help with them.”

Effort returns year-round flow to Idaho creek Mon, 9 Feb 2015 14:22:38 -0500 Hear Smith Thomas An effort that began last fall will make Carmen Creek near Lemhi, Idaho, a year-round stream again, aiding fish passage and helping ranchers receive the irrigation water they need.

Dan Bertram, project manager for the Upper Salmon Basin Watershed Program, is working on the effort, which involves moving the point of irrigation diversion for two ranches.

This will allow a minimum of 1.2 cubic feet per second to be transferred down Carmen Creek from a nearby ditch, making it a perennial stream again, Bertram says. In the past, part of the creek went dry almost every summer during irrigation season.

Bill Slavin is one of the ranchers involved.

“Our water has always come out of Carmen Creek. ... We’ve had trouble with some of that ground the ditch goes through, with a lot of subdivisions,” Slavin says.

“Those people think it’s like a faucet they can turn on or off whenever they want, rather than according to their water right,” he explained.

Their erratic use makes it hard to regulate the amount downstream, he says.

The ranchers do most of the work to maintain the ditch.

“Everyone tried to get together in the spring to do some maintenance before we turn water on, but then it was up to ranchers to adjust the headgate when the creek went up or down. We end up doing the work and they get the benefit. They are on the front end of the ditch and we are on the tail end,” he says.

“That’s the main reason we looked into this change to sprinklers instead of flood irrigating. We will be able to rely on how much water we’ll actually have, and when,” Slavin says.

“Before, we’d set a dam, but when we come back either the water is not there, or it’s a lot more than we expected because screens on the subdivision sprinkler systems hadn’t been cleaned and are plugged up. Then all the water would come down to us. My ground is steep, and this could wash the hillside away,” he says.

“Now we’ll have to deal with pumps and more mechanical problems, but we should be able to get a better crop,” he says.

The project will pump water to Bill and Derrold Slavin from a canal on Big Flat.

“This will allow more flow to stay in Carmen Creek — from our headgate on down to the river. This was what was attractive to people interested in the fish,” he says.

“Ours wasn’t the last headgate, but close to it, and the next rancher had to put a dam across the creek to get his water right, which pretty much shuts the flow off for fish passage,” Slavin says.

“The plan is to have it finished before we start irrigating this spring,” he says. “We are optimistic it will work. I worry about having trouble with pumps, but we’ve had trouble with ditches, too.”

Grants help farmers fend off junipers Mon, 9 Feb 2015 14:21:31 -0500 LACEY JARRELL In Oregon, livestock and wildlife can benefit from small grants for watershed improvement.

Last year, Frank Hammerich was awarded a small grant from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board that helped him clear junipers from a 40-acre parcel of his ranch near Bonanza, Ore.

“The junipers just kind of overtook everything and they needed to get thinned out,” Hammerich said.

The grant paid for a professional tree company to cut down dozens of junipers with a hydraulic clamp; other younger, smaller trees were cut by hand with pruning shears. Species like mountain mahogany and ponderosa pine were left to flourish in the newly opened space.

Hammerich secured his OWEB grant locally from the Klamath Watershed Partnership. But, according KWP project manager Roger Smith, the grants are available statewide. He said the maximum is $10,000, although total project costs may be more because landowners are required to pay in-kind, roughly one-quarter of the cost.

Smith noted that OWEB grants are available for a host of watershed improvements such as riparian fencing and bank stabilization.

“It just needs to have a watershed benefit,” Smith said. “We’ve been dealing with juniper removal, but there are lots of opportunities.”

According to OWEB Grant Program Coordinator Courtney Shaff, every year each of the state’s 28 districts is awarded $100,000 for watershed projects. The small grant program lets landowners to make on-the-ground improvements that benefit water quality, water quantity, and fish and wildlife, she said.

Smith said juniper removal is a good fit for the program because the trees commonly outcompete other species for water. Juniper trees have been recorded drawing more than 30 gallons per day, he said.

“The lack of wildfires has allowed junipers to take hold at a level and a density that never existed naturally,” Smith said. “By removing the juniper, you have an immediate impact on the grasses, forbes and shrubs in the area — so you allow more livestock and wildlife production.”

Hammerich said that before the removal, the juniper-covered land looked like a jungle. The encroaching trees were so dense, he said, grass disappeared and timber species, like pine, became stunted. In addition, soil erosion increased because no ground cover or shallow roots existed to slow surface water flows.

“Everything just washed off,” Hammerich said.

Although tree removal took less than one month to complete, project maintenance will be ongoing, Hammerich said. He plans to replant the parcel with dryland seed to stabilize the soil and to prevent noxious weeds from taking hold.

“I’ll have to take care of that for the next couple of years. When you disturb ground, it brings those weeds to the forefront,” Hammerich said.

As part of the grant agreement, he must also maintain the area for five years, cutting down any junipers or other unwanted species that emerge.

Conservation district saves money with new building Mon, 9 Feb 2015 14:20:07 -0500 Erick Peterson The Franklin Conservation District will move this spring from the USDA Agricultural Service Center in Pasco, Wash., to a new building nearby.

Board member Chris Herron and other district officials say, however, that people who currently depend on the district have nothing to worry about, as it will continue to offer the same services.

Actually, they said, the district will have a little more to offer.

Herron, a wheat farmer, said that the district is well prepared for the transition. Through strong management of its resources, he said, the district saved money to construct the new building.

Still, Heather Wendt, assistant manager of the Franklin and Benton conservation districts, calls the need for the move “a sad story with a happy ending.”

The district office has been at the ag service center since its inception in 1951, as was done at many other service centers across the country.

“We’ve been tied by the hip to them for forever,” she said. As such, the USDA has helped her office with technical assistance, supplies and equipment and by giving the district office space in their building.

But things changed last year, she said, when the USDA decided to charge rent — $65,000 per year, a sum the district could not afford.

Fortunately, she said, the district had been saving for the previous 20 years and had enough savings for a building, which it has recently started. At a cost of $583,000, the building will be within eyesight of its current location.

It will have 4,000 square feet of space, half of which will be offices for the seven full-time employees. The other half will be a shop, which will serve primarily as storage for teaching supplies.

The completion date is April 1.

She said that the only new service will be a demonstration garden for local plants. This will be an opportunity to teach property owners about native plants and encourage them to build lawns that save water.

Irrigation water management will remain the top priority, said Mark Nielson, district manager.

“In Franklin County, you have some of the highest nitrate levels in groundwater across the state,” he said.

Nielson and his team are trying to reduce the amount of water used to limit nitrates from leeching into the groundwater. The project involves putting monitors in the ground, tracking water use and trying to match water to crop conditions. The goal, he said, is to use only enough water for the crops and prevent it from carrying nitrates deep into the groundwater.

When the district first put irrigation water management into practice, it was met with some skepticism, he said. Some local growers even seemed grumpy about being asked about their practices.

The program, however, has gained support, he said. Producers have learned that they can create savings in water, fertilizer and energy use.

Nielson said that last year the district provided around $50,000 of incentive money for the program, and he now has a glut of people wanting to enroll.

Water project improves efficiency, quality Mon, 9 Feb 2015 14:19:34 -0500 Erick Peterson A project 10 years in the making is proving to be a benefit to area landowners and the migratory fish population in Cowiche Creek.

Nearly complete but fully functional, the Cowiche Creek Water Users’ Association Barrier Removal and Trust Water Project has been a blessing, according to Ken Lust, a Yakima, Wash.-area hay farmer who also has a small cattle operation.

This project exchanged creek water rights held by 16 people, including Lust, for new water rights from the nearby Tieton River. Their Cowiche rights were then placed in a state trust for in-stream flow for fish passage.

Lust said the project, initiated by the North Yakima Conservation District, provides him with a constant supply of water.

“It’s a great project,” he said,

He added that the district “has done a good job for us” and that he is glad to have been involved, as it has reduced his workload by unburdening him of much pump and irrigation system maintenance.

Mike Tobin, the district manager, said other landowners and farmers say they are well served by the project and that they have been waiting for it for a long time.

For around 10 years, he said, people have been discussing the Cowiche Creek problem. Fish migration was troubled by two four-foot dams in the creek and totally blocked by dewatered sections of the creek.

The district considered solutions that could have left a large footprint and required expensive engineering work, Tobin said.

But then someone at the district thought to make use of a pressurized pipeline already underground. It made sense, he said, to put outlets on it to serve the area with water from the Tieton River.

As much as it made sense, it could not be done right away. First, Tobin would have to work with local landowners and government agencies to build a consensus.

What could have “taken 10 days ended up taking 10 years,” Tobin said, but the final solution was one that both improved irrigation water quantity and quality and offered a fish recovery benefit. More water running in the creek improves the temperature and allows the steelhead and coho to pass unencumbered.

It also benefits livestock. Working with landowners who have property above the creek, the district installed a buffer, a fenced grazing management system and off-stream watering for cattle.

Several people and agencies should be thanked for their help on the project, Tobin said. A salmon recovery funding grant from the Recreation and Conservation Office helped fund pipeline construction. Further funding came from the Bonneville Power Administration through the Yakima Tributary Access and Habitat Program. And the Washington Water Project of Trout Unlimited was “a big sponsor,” Tobin said. The Yakima-Tieton Irrigation District and the federal Bureau of Reclamation were also helpful.

That, plus the cooperation of landowners, made the project possible, Tobin said.

Utility’s cost-share project reduces dairy’s expenses Mon, 9 Feb 2015 14:17:54 -0500 Hear Smith Thomas RICHFIELD, Idaho — Dairyman Robin Lezamiz was closing a headgate on the canal that fed his irrigation system when a deer and her fawn distracted him.

“I came upon a doe and a fawn, and the fawn was newborn — still wobbly. I started following the doe and fawn, walking northeasterly. After 20 minutes they took off, and I turned around to go back and was looking to the southeast, over the top of some poplar trees, 2 miles away,” he said.

“It finally dawned on me that I was looking at our dairy farm, and our roller mill — a 30-foot-tall building with an elevator sticking 40 feet above the building,” he said. “I was looking clear over the top of that. I never realized there was that much fall.”

Lezamiz, who owns the farm in partnership with his sister Lynda, called a contractor who came and took the coordinates and determined there was 173 feet of fall — the change in elevation — in a half-mile.

That discovery, plus financial help from Idaho Power, would help him switch his irrigation system to gravity-fed set-up that saves the dairy 88 percent on its electricity bill each year along with reducing labor and maintenance costs associated with the old canal and pumping stations.

Lezamiz contacted his local Idaho Power agricultural representative to see if the utility would help in a cost-share project.

The Idaho Power incentive program paid 29 percent of the total cost of the project, which was installed in 2010.

The water is now picked up 2 miles north of the dairy, taking advantage of 195 feet of elevation drop from the diversion to the lowest part of the farm.

“It goes into a 27-inch pipeline that takes it down to our farm,” Lezamiz said.

“We originally thought the pipeline would pay for itself in six years but it paid for itself in two,” he said. “Also, our water is coming 3 miles through the pipe instead of the canal, and we save at least 100 inches of water for the canal company, eliminating water loss.”

Idaho Power has irrigation efficiency programs in which farmers and ranchers can upgrade or modify irrigation systems, said Dennis Merrick, the utility’s program support manager.

“It all results in power savings from water savings, with less pumping costs,” he said.

“We have six Idaho Power agricultural field representatives who meet with customers and do free irrigation system audits to determine their efficiencies. These representatives can make recommendations on how to improve water application efficiencies as well as energy savings tips,” Merrick said.

“We do about 1,000 projects each year through this program,” he said. “It’s a win-win situation. The farmer increases water application efficiency, resulting in an increase in crop yield, less disease, better fertilizer application and often labor savings.”

He said the Lezamiz Dairy is a happy customer.

“They have more water now than they ever had, and can irrigate their entire farm. In years past they were always short, from loss along the canal. They are finally receiving their full water right,” Merrick said. They were also able to expand their farm with the increased water availability.

“We had 11 pump stations feeding 11 pivots,” Lezamiz said. The pivots, along with wheel lines and hand lines, irrigate 1,071 acres of crops on the farm. By installing a gravity-pressured buried mainline, they were able to fill in the old canal.

“And it all came about because that doe jumped up — and enticed me to go up on that rock pile and look to the south,” he said.