Make no mistake about it, winter has arrived - and fast! You may be ready, but what about your irrigation system? Sure, sitting back and letting nature run its course might be the natural inclination. However, when the ground thaws and Spring arrives you may have trouble on your hands due to prolonged exposure to harsh weather conditions and the impact they’ve had on your equipment during the winter months.
The good news is potential damage to your irrigation system is preventable. With a little hard work and proactive thinking, you can get your pivots ready for the cold - potentially saving hundreds of dollars in repairs next spring.
So what are you waiting for? Here are five ways to prepare and protect your irrigation system for frigid weather in the months ahead:
Be strategic about parking your pivot
Line up your pivots according to the most common wind direction to avoid damage from gusts that may arise. In addition to wind damage, strategic placement can also deter wire theft. Avoid enticing potential thieves by placing your pivots in a less visible part of the field during less active months.
Outsmart rodents and pests
Rodent infestation is another common cause of pivot damage in winter, so avoid placement next to tree lines where pests can be found. Removing brush and branches near control panels and properly sealing electrical boxes will also decrease the likelihood of wire damage from our furry friends. And don’t forget to cap pipe openings and outlets so that animals can’t get inside.
Drain, drain and drain some more
Even if your irrigation system boasts automatic frost drains, be sure to drain all pivots and solid-set systems anyway as they can plug in cold weather. Drain all sprinkler heads, travelers and stationary big guns as well, as they may also contain residual water/moisture. And while draining underground pipes completely isn’t necessary, lowering water levels to two or three feet below the soil will help prevent freeze damage. Risers and pump manifolds should be drained and emptied as well.
Sweat the small stuff
As the old saying goes, the devil is in the details. And this is certainly true when it comes to taking the proper steps to protect and winterize an entire irrigation system. Don’t be fooled into thinking that taking care of the main pieces of equipment is enough. Before the cold hits, drain and clean rock traps, hoses and end couplers. Water-drive pistons and impeller drive systems should also be drained and clean to avoid seasonal wear and tear.
Don’t neglect your pumping plant and primary irrigation motors
Drain pumps and manifolds to their lowest points to avoid damage. Additionally, conduct a full engine service by checking oil, seal lubrication and antifreeze levels. Carefully assess all gauges and wiring and drain the fuel tank.
For more information on seasonal care and pivot maintenance, contact your local Lindsay dealer or visit www.zimmatic.com today.