Depending on where you are located in the United States, harvest is either right now, very close to starting, or already complete. Before the snow comes and buries your field for the winter, be sure to take time to give your center pivot or linear a checkup so that it's prepared for the next growing season.
To help you through this post-harvest maintenance process, Valley® offers this list of 10 maintenance tips.
1. Drive Train - To maximize the life of your drive train and keep it operating trouble-free, drain water from the wheel gearbox and center drive, and make sure the gear lubricant is at the appropriate level.
2. Wheel Tracks - Be sure to fill deep wheel tracks during the off-season to reduce stress on irrigation, tillage, and harvest equipment. To help prevent future tracking, consider changing to a different type of tire, adding floatation, or modifying the sprinkler package to reduce water application to the wheel tracks.
3. Motor Contactors - Damaged motor contactors can reduce the life of the drive unit motor, so be sure to inspect and replace worn contactors.
4. Tire Pressure - Tires are vital to the operation of irrigation equipment. Be sure to check the pressure and tighten the lug bolts, as well as evaluate the overall tire condition.
5. Sprinkler Package - Sprinkler packages should be changed at least every 10,000 hours of operation. Regularly check for broken or worn sprinkler components and replace them as necessary. Also consider running a new sprinkler design which could maximize efficiency for soil and crop type.
6. Energy Efficiency - You can minimize water pumping costs by lowering pressure when possible. To ensure that water is being used efficiently, check the machine's water pressure at the pivot point. For sprinkler packages with pressure regulators, check the line pressure at the last tower.
7. Pivot Alignment & Pipe Flushing - Ensure the tower box microswitches are set properly. Improper settings can cause pivot misalignment, which results in nuisance shutdowns. Flushing your pipeline and cleaning your sand trap is essential, especially if you either have water quality problems or your irrigation water contains sand.
8. U-Joints - Evaluate the equipment for worn u-joint inserts and ensure driveshaft shields are in place for safety.
9. Electrical Connections - Be sure to power down the equipment before checking any electrical connections. Once the power is off, check for loose connections or loose cord grips in tower boxes.
10. Moving Parts - Steel moving on steel without proper lubrication can lead to unnecessary wear and tear on irrigation equipment. Be sure to grease all moving parts, including the pivot point bearing, towable hubs, corner rollers, and legs.
For more information on how you can make the best of your investment with irrigation machine maintenance, contact your local Valley dealer.