Guarding Against Copper Theft

For thieves, there is no off-season.

“Copper theft is a big problem, especially during the fall and winter when the machines are idle,” said Mitchell Davee from Quality Well & Pump. “We probably repair five machines or more a year – fixing the damage done by copper thieves.”

Davee said idle center pivots parked along county roads or in other remote locations are easy targets for copper thieves. Because pivots often have between two and five miles of copper wire, ranging between one-quarter and one-half inch thick, replacement costs can be significant. And, if the theft occurs during a critical watering time, lost production would add to the loss.

“With parts and labor, you’re probably looking at anywhere from $5,000 - $10,000, depending on what they get away with,” he said. 

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To eliminate costly repairs and downtime due to copper theft, Davee recommends installing the CopperCuff cable theft deterrent. Designed to fit all major brands of pivot and lateral systems, CopperCuff locks the pivot’s cables in place, making it difficult for criminals to steal the copper wire.

“The CopperCuff encircles the entire pipe along with the cable wiring, creating a lock-tight seal,” Davee said. “About 99 percent of all machines we sell now have CopperCuff on them. It makes the farmer feel a lot more comfortable.”

Also available is Proof Positive Span Cable – a traceable cable offers proof of ownership. The cable is manufactured with unique TraceID codes printed on tape inside the jacket. When sold, ownership data is entered in an online database that’s accessible to recyclers and law enforcement. 

And, for added protection, Davee recommends parking pivots away from the road and, if possible, putting lights at the beginning and end of the pivot. He also encourages famers to keep an eye out for unusual activity.

“If you see an unusual vehicle in the area, write down the license plate,” he said.

For more information about copper theft products, talk to your local Zimmatic dealer or visit