The weather is beginning to warm and for farmers across Texas, that means the time to put center pivot irrigation systems into service again is nearly here.
Irrigation system services recommend that before turning yours on, you should perform a critical pre-season check-up to make certain that everything is in working order and ready to go.
Follow this easy parts inspection checklist to ensure your system is in good condition and will give you flawless, efficient service without the risk of water or plant wastage.
Make the checklist a routine part of your irrigation system maintenance at the start and the end of every growing season as well as periodically throughout your crop's growth cycle to detect and remedy problems with your system quickly before your losses can start to mount.
1. Check for Leaks in the System
The easiest assessment to do is to check for costly leaks in the system that can affect system pressure, water waster, and reduce irrigating efficiency.
Run the system for a short time and go over it with a fine-toothed comb looking for evidence of leaks that should be repaired before putting your center pivot into regular use for the season.
2. Inspect Sprinkler Heads
Next inspect every sprinkler head to be certain that it’s receiving water and flowing properly.
Repair or replace any broken, missing, or clogged heads with new ones.
Do a uniformity test to measure whether each head is putting out the same as all the others, which is critical for confirming your irrigation programming is as effective as it should be.
3. Inspect End Guns
After looking at the individual sprinkler heads, inspect the end guns and their booster pumps as they are pivotal to getting full coverage in the area being irrigated.
Replace damaged or clogged components and be certain that the end guns are fully functional before putting the system into use for a greater yield.
4. Test the Regulators
Regulators are another critical component that require testing and good irrigation system maintenance as these parts regulate water pressure and flow based on varying terrain and other factors.
Test, repair, and replace as needed until all regulators function correctly according to how the system is programmed.
5. Inspect Drain Check Valves
Drain check valves act to release air and water from the sprinkler lines to keep them flowing well and help stabilize line pressure.
Inspect and test to verify that none are sticking open or closed, which could result in either too much or not enough water being applied which would further affect sprinkler efficiency.
6. Service the Gearboxes and Drivelines
Drivelines and gearboxes are the muscle behind the whole center pivot system.
Perform pre-season maintenance by draining the gearboxes and checking oil levels, then lubricating all the driveline fittings.
Check that the driveshafts are in good condition and repair damaged shields.
7. Test Pivot Points and Pivot Alignment
Inspect and lubricate the center pivot point to ensure it turns without any restrictions.
Check all wiring, bolts, and other components and parts; replace worn parts as needed.
Test pivot alignment to ensure that all towers roll in alignment with the center pivot point to deliver even coverage and won’t cause strain on the systems or prevent the different tower parts from working together efficiently.
8. Inspect the Tires
Check all tires for wear and cracks, correct tire pressure, and tight lugs.
Replace any damaged or worn tires or those that don’t hold pressure, as the tires can add strain to the system if they don’t roll freely.
Replacing questionable tires during your pre-season inspection is easier than dealing with a mid-season failure that may have already affected system efficiency.
9. Test the Safety System
Prevent unnecessary damage to the system, water wastage, and plant death by testing all safety stops and switches.
Start the Season Right
As simple and convenient as these systems may be to use, center pivot irrigation systems are comprised of many parts and components that must work together to have efficient use of water and high yields.
Rather than assuming the break-fix mentality, start your season off on the right foot by performing a complete operating system check-up ahead of usage time!