Spring is around the corner, which means irrigation season is almost here. It also means now is the time for maintenance on center pivot irrigation systems to be in shape for a long season of reliable service. To prevent problems and increase efficiency with sprinkler irrigation systems, it is essential to keep them clean and well-maintained. By using the following tips, preparing center pivot irrigation systems can be an easy task.
Lubricate All Moving Parts
Routine lubrication is something machines with metal moving parts require, including the gears and joints of sprinkler systems and heads. Pivot sprinkler systems are continuously moving, exposed to water, and always out in the elements. They require sufficient lubrication to prevent parts from binding as well as to prevent corrosion that could affect their movement and reduce sprinkler efficiency.
Tires and Tire Pressure
Tires on pivot sprinkler irrigation systems will lose pressure over time and lug nuts will loosen during normal use. It is very important to check these things regularly. Correct tire size and pressure is essential to keep irrigation systems rolling smoothly as well as to prevent dragging that could reduce pivot efficiency. The same type of tires should always be used so that flotation and circumference are uniformly the same.
Drive Train, U-Joints and Wiring
To keep a pivot sprinkler running, it is recommended that the U-joints be checked before the season starts. If they are worn, they should be replaced. Additionally, all electrical wires and connections should be examined and repaired or replaced as necessary. Check the gearbox regularly and drain any water that has collected inside. Keep the gearbox and center drive well-lubricated.
Pivots, Pipes, and Sprinklers
As the most important parts to the actual irrigation process, the pivots, pipes, and sprinkler heads of a sprinkler system require careful inspection and maintenance for maximum operational efficiency. Check the tower box switches and be sure they are properly set to keep pivots aligned and prevent system shutdowns. Flush pipes, empty filters, and empty sand traps. Inspect all pipes for leaks or other damage. Check sprinkler systems and heads for damage; use of a high quality sprinkler will provide greater durability and efficiency.
Avoid and Prevent Wheel Tracks
When it comes to the ground itself, wheel tracks and ruts can damage both sprinkler and tilling equipment, making irrigation less efficient. Fill in all wheel tracks or till them under. Then take steps to prevent them from reappearing this season. Using a larger float tire may help reduce wheel ruts. Turning off sprinkler heads that deliver water over the wheels will help as well. These things prevent mud, which often turns into deep ruts.
Although the things mentioned above may sound like a lot of work each season, this kind of maintenance is essential to keep center pivot irrigation systems functioning properly and efficiently. The more wear that sprinkler irrigation systems sustain, the less effective they become, which means higher costs for crop irrigation.
Just like any other machine, proper maintenance on irrigation systems keeps operating costs lower. In the case of sprinklers, it enables crop growers to be more water conscious as well. With planting season getting closer, the best time to tackle this maintenance and any necessary repairs is now!
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