By Troy Ingram
With irrigation season wrapped up, now is a good time to evaluate your center pivot to make sure it is ready for winter and for another growing season. Here is a quick list of things to look at before winter sets in:
Flushing the system
• Flush the system if you have water quality issues or if your well is pumping sand.
• Clean out the sand trap.
• Drain water from all aboveground pipe.
• Check for loose or damaged connections.
• Seal up openings in panel boxes to avoid rodent damage.
• Check sprinkler chart for proper sprinkler placement.
• Check for worn or broken components, sprinklers and regulators.
• Replace sprinklers and components every 7,000 to 10,000 hours.
• Check for boots, gaskets, and mid-drains for leaks.
• Drain water from gearboxes and top off with the proper lubricant.
• Check knuckles for wear and make sure shields are in place.
• Check tire pressure.
• Fill pivot tracks in during fall, so they can firm up over the winter.
Parking of pivot
• Position system parallel to prevailing winds.
• Park on level surface and not in an old track, so the system can expand or contract with freezing temperatures.
Locking out system
• You don't want the system to be turned on during the off-season without the grower's knowledge. Ice buildup could take the system down.
Cleanup of vegetation
• Remove vegetation around pivot point and well to make space less inviting to rodents.
• Drain and clean pump and hoses.
Cattle and equipment
• If grazing cattle on stalks nearby, protect the system and pumping plant from cattle.
Ingram is a Nebraska Extension educator. This report comes from UNL Water.