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Maximize Sprinkler Life With Regular Inspections

How do you know when to replace your sprinkler package? According to Lindsay
Sprinkler and VRI Specialist Aaron Sauser… it depends.

“It depends on where you farm. It depends on the hours on your machine. It depends on the quality of water you’re pumping,” he said. “In areas where the water has a lot of sand, you might need to replace the sprinklers after just one growing season. But in areas where pivots provide supplemental water, they’ll last much longer.” 

Typically, Sauser said, most sprinklers last about 10 years. However, he added that growers should conduct regular inspections, because even one or two plugged or malfunctioning sprinklers can significantly impact yields.

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“One or two nozzles might not seem like a big deal, but it can be,” Sauser said. “For example, if two sprinklers are plugged at 1,170 feet from the pivot point, with a performance diameter of 56 feet, almost 10 acres are affected – and that will result in decreased yields.”

Sauser recommends reviewing yield maps to check for spots or streaks and to add a sprinkler check to routine maintenance.

“It’s good practice to always check the sprinklers while doing pre-season maintenance and a give them another good inspection before the canopy covers them up. Once they get below the canopy, they’re out of sight and out of mind,” he said. “We all have short memories, and growers sometimes forget how bad it can get during dry years. Because of that, sprinklers don’t always get the attention they should. And, unfortunately, when you see problems in the field, it’s too late.”

For more information about sprinkler maintenance and replacement packages, see your local Zimmatic dealer.