Because they’re so durable, center pivot systems sometimes get overlooked when growers are conducting pre-season maintenance checks on their equipment.
“Growers count on their irrigation machines to provide reliable returns over the growing season,” said Evan Carlson, field engineer at Lindsay Corporation. “A quick, visual inspection of the system before beginning spring field work could prevent major mid-season headaches once the growing season is underway.”
Carlson recommends starting the maintenance inspection at the end of the machine and working toward the pivot point, making sure to check the following components:
End gun – If the system is equipped with an end gun, make sure all plumbing is intact and appears to be in good working condition. Also check for rodent damage, degradation of tubing and plugged plumbing.
Drive line – Check air pressure and visually inspect tires at the last tower for any signs of wear. Also, check the seals on the wheel gearboxes and center drive for signs of leakage and repair or replace as necessary. And, if not done during the off-season, drain water from the bottom of these units and refill with oil. Repeat on every tower while working toward the pivot point.
Sprinklers – Inspect the entire system for missing or damaged sprinklers and repair or replace as necessary. Missing or damaged items create inefficiencies in the system’s water application and negatively affect irrigation performance. Also check the drains on every tower (located at the beginning of each span) and replace as needed.
Pivot point – Make sure the lower pivot ell is securely connected and any drain plugs have been reinserted. Grease the pivot point after every 1,000 hours of operation or once every season, whichever comes first.
Electrical – Apply power to the system and check for proper operation in both directions.
“Be sure to contact your local Irrigation Specialists dealer for replacement parts or any electrical troubleshooting needs,” Carlson said. “The pre-season check along with an off-season maintenance program provided by your dealer will ensure that your irrigation machine operates in peak condition.”