We are midway through the summer, and as I drive through the country, I see many center pivot machines hard at work applying water to growers' crops. It's impressive to see how crops in pivot-irrigated fields perform so much better than the crops without irrigation!
Not too long ago, I came across an article about a center pivot end gun irrigating the road beside the field (to read the article, click here), so I thought this would be a good opportunity to write about end guns and this issue, which has come up more than once in my career.
Many center pivots have a large sprinkler, commonly referred to as an end gun, installed at the very end to irrigate field areas beyond the end of the center pivot structure. An end gun is a cost-effective option for irrigating an additional 80’ – 100’ of field area, increasing the productivity of a center pivot. Controls are required to turn the end gun on and off, preventing it from irrigating areas outside of the field boundary. These controls consist of a valve at the end of the machine and mechanical or electronic controls at the center of the pivot machine that control the end gun by pivot angle position.
A few times during my travels, I have run across road areas that have been watered by the end gun, indicating that the controls were not working properly. This can create hazardous driving conditions for motorists. There are two items you can inspect to make sure your end gun controls are working properly: the end gun valve at the end of the machine and the angle position settings at the center pivot control panel. These should be checked periodically throughout the irrigation season. Proper control of an end gun will ensure efficient use of irrigation water and safety for everyone traveling the roadways.
For more maintenance tips for your center pivots and linears, check out valleyirrigation.com.