At this point, we’re about as far away from next irrigation season as possible. But now is the time to do some preventive maintenance work that can reduce the potential for breakdowns and downtime when you need your irrigation equipment to perform at its peak.
Downtime during irrigation season can mean crop loss and high costs. It’s also much easier to reach the pivots right now when the crop is harvested and the ground is dry.
Make certain that water is drained from the entire machine before the first freeze. This includes pipe, pumps and gearboxes. Top off the gearbox with new gear oil. Seal up all electrical components to keep rodents from nesting inside and gnawing on wires over the winter.
If you have a lot of pivots, this can be very time-consuming and something you may not be able to do during the harvest season. Remember that many Valley dealers offer off-season maintenance programs for all of your pivots. In addition to what has been mentioned, your dealer can also do a complete check of U-joints, center drives, tires and other drive train components. Ask about complete pivot inspection and oil change programs as well.
We also recommend that you park your pivot away from the road to make it a little less tempting to potential vandals. Make sure the reversing arms are in their neutral state, not engaged against the barricade. You’ll also want to position your pivot to align with the prevailing winds during the winter to further reduce stress on the structure. It’s also important to fill those wheel tracks and park the machine on ground that is as flat as possible. This allows for expansion and contraction of the machine with the temperature changes we see in the winter.
Taking a few steps right now to get your irrigation equipment ready for winter will put you giant steps ahead of the game when you fire it up next season.
Copyright 2015 21st Century Water Technologies. Excerpted with permission.