An 18-year-old Valley® linear irrigation machine, left idle in an Australian paddock for more than a decade, has made an astonishing return to service. Actually, says the grower, it’s not all that astonishing.
Greg Ernst says the well-known Valley reputation for quality was one of the factors that led him to purchase one of the company’s linears in 2001 to help feed his dairy cattle in the New South Wales (NSW) region of Hunter Valley in Australia.
But only in recent months has the linear irrigation machine (known as a “lateral” machine in Australia) proven its true Valley reliability and strength.
Ernst put his linear to use for about six years. At that point, a major flood event – not to mention a struggling dairy industry – caused the family to walk away from the stresses of farming.
They turned off the linear irrigation equipment for the last time and there it stayed for 11 years, in the middle of the paddock, through a decade of hot summers and fierce thunderstorms, with no maintenance
A few months ago, Ernst’s neighbors, Mick and Mel Hassett, asked if they could plant corn for silage on his property, and use his old linear.
Ernst admits he wasn’t sure whether the linear would be any good to them, but together they set about making the repairs necessary to get it going again.
The Hassett family with their neighbor, Greg Ernst
They were pleased by how little they had to spend to get her back to working order. They replaced a few broken sprinklers and all the plastic uni-joints that had degraded in the hot conditions, tinkered with the diesel motor and did a little bit of electrical work to repair the cables his cows had tugged on while grazing.
“We cranked it up and away it went,” said Ernst. They were surprised how little trouble the abandoned linear irrigation equipment gave them – but then again, not really surprised.
“It is a testament to Valley quality that a machine with so many components could sit there for 11 years and only need to have a minimum amount of dollars spent on it to get it up and running again,” Ernst said.
Its success also came as a big sigh of relief because the contractors had planted the corn earlier than expected. The area is drought affected, so the linear is essential to the crop’s development. And, with the ground having been well-rested for a decade, expectations are high for a strong yield come harvest time.
With the help of their local Valley dealer (TEAM Irrigation), Ernst and the Hassetts were able to get the old but durable linear irrigator running again.
“Everything was counting on getting this linear machine to run, and it didn’t let us down,” says Ernst. “I’m extremely happy; it was well worth the investment all those years ago.”
To find out for yourself why Valley center pivots and linear irrigation machines are the industry’s most trusted, outsell the competition 2 to 1, and have higher resale value, contact your local Valley dealer today.