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Irrigation repair: Keep the water flowingIrrigation repair: Keep the water flowing

Repairing irrigation in the field is a challenge, but unique solutions make the job easier.

Kyle Stackhouse 2

August 26, 2022

2 Min Read
Sprayer in beans by irrigation pivot to assist with repair

For the most part, irrigation has been going pretty well this year. That’s probably because since mid-July, systems have been off more than they have been on. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been some hiccups. Most issues have been pretty common stuff: a pressure switch here, a drive train motor there, a leaky gasket somewhere else, an old fuse gives up, a mouse makes a poor choice in home, etc. Once we got through the initial start-up, things have run fairly smooth.

The biggest issue this year has been the new well from last year. I’ve had a pump motor go out twice on the same well. The first one was less than a year old, the second one had only been used for a week or two. I am waiting on the warranty claims to come through on those two. We will see how that turns out.

Wednesday, we missed a seed field day at the elevator because we had a driveline gearbox go bad. This was the first bad gearbox this season for us. Fortunately, it went out when the pivot was on the soybean side of the field. It is never ideal to have to make an in-season in-crop repair, but if I had to choose, hands down I would prefer the pivot break down in soybeans. It’s just easier to work there and it isn’t as hot as it is in the middle of a cornfield where there is no breeze.

Gearboxes and tires are the hardest items to get to the middle of the field. The gear box weighs in at 110 pounds. Not to mention you need a jack, cordless impact, socket set and a handful of wrenches. Certainly, enough stuff you don’t want to have to carry it into the field! I’ve heard of guys using a sled to pull it out in the field by hand. UTVs and four wheelers are also a popular choice, but you always do some crop damage.

This time we were able to use the option of the high clearance sprayer. Fortunately, the breakdown was right at one of the sprayer tracks. We were able to hang the gearbox from the sprayer boom and throw all the tools on the platform. We drove down the tram line to the pivot, swapped out gearboxes, and headed out. The only damage we did was on the U-turn to head back out of the field, even then I kept one tire in the irrigation track to minimize damage.

Hopefully that will be the one and only gearbox swap this year. We really need to catch a rain for these dryland acres to maximize yield as crops finish up.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress. 

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