With winter on the way, it’s important to take steps to protect your irrigation system from freezing temperatures and harsh weather.
“Like any piece of agricultural equipment, center pivots should be prepped for winter weather,” said John Elder, director of aftermarket sales for Lindsay Corporation. “Taking a few simple steps now will help your pivot remain in top operating condition for when it’s really needed next season.
Maintenance experts recommend the following:
Park your pivot in a safe spot
Line up your pivots according to the most common wind direction to avoid damage from wind gusts. Strategic placement can also deter wire theft, so avoid enticing potential thieves by parking your pivots in a less visible area of your field.
Protect against rodents and pests
Avoid parking your pivot near tree lines, and remove brush and branches near control panels to decrease the likelihood of rodents and other pests causing wire damage. Also, be sure to cap pipe openings and outlets to prevent rodents from entering and birds from nesting.
Drain, drain and drain some more
Be sure to drain all pivots and solid-set systems – even if your system has automatic frost drains, because they can plug in cold weather. Also drain anything that might hold water, including pump manifolds, risers, sprinkler heads, travelers and stationary big guns. While completely draining underground pipes isn’t necessary, lowering water levels to two or three feet below the soil will help prevent freeze damage.
Don’t overlook the small stuff
Before freezing temperatures arrive, drain and clean rock traps, hoses and end couplers. Water-drive pistons and impeller drive systems should also be drained and cleaned to avoid seasonal wear and tear.
Service your engine and pump
Drain pumps and manifolds to their lowest points to avoid damage, and conduct a full engine inspection – checking oil, seal lubrication and antifreeze levels. Carefully assess all gauges and wiring and drain the fuel tank.