It won’t be long before growers across the country are firing up their irrigation systems for the pivots’ first run of this growing season. Before that happens, though, it’s important to make sure every part of the system is in good working order – including the wells and pumps.
Maintaining wells and pumps is often a simple, yet important, process. Neglect can lead to expensive repairs and, if downtime occurs during a critical time, result in a reduction in yield.
Following are a few simple steps that can help ensure smooth operation and maximum production:
- Measure static water level at least once before and after irrigation season. Record the flow rate and pumping water level at the beginning, middle and end of the season. If the specific capacity drops below 80%, take action to restore performance.
- Check for iron bacteria and mineral incrustation to avoid screen blockage that increases the drawdown and pumping energy requirements.
- Never allow the pumping level to drop below the top of the screen. Exposure to air will accelerate the buildup of mineral deposits and incrustation.
- Chlorinate the well at least once a year to prevent the growth of bacteria.
Pumps are the heartbeat of every irrigation system, so it’s also important to make sure they’re operating with maximum efficiency. We recommend that you check your owner’s manual for detailed maintenance procedures, including:
- Lubricating electric motor bearings with a hand-operated grease gun.
- Starting up the motor and letting it run until grease is expelled.
- Installing at lease one check valve in the discharge pipe to prevent pump backspin and
hydraulic shock, which can severely damage the pump and motor.
- Checking all alarm point settings and control and alarm systems.