As the growing season draws to a close and your combine finishes its last pass through the field, it’s reassuring to know that yet another successful year is complete. However, your next growing season is just over the horizon. As every grower knows, when your equipment is operating smoothly, efficiency improves and stress levels decrease. One of the most important pieces of equipment to have operating flawlessly, pass after pass, is your center pivot or linear irrigation machine. The simplest way to avoid nuisance breakdowns and component wear is to stay on top of machine maintenance, especially after a long growing season.
Based on more than 60 years of experience, Valley® has “seen it all” in regard to irrigation machine operation. Valley preventative maintenance recommendations should be the first step in extending the life of your center pivot or linear machine to avoid operational breakdowns. The following tips are just some of the practices that will keep your irrigation system operating year after year.
1. Drain water from gearboxes and center drives.
Water and gears have never gotten along with each other, so don’t force your drive train to operate with water. To avoid this issue, regularly drain any accumulated water in gearboxes and center drives. Additionally, check your gearbox oil levels, as well as your tire air pressures, to make sure they’re not too high or too low.
2. Align center pivots and flush pipes.
When your center pivot is parked for the off-season, it is important to check even the little things. Checking the placement of machine micro-switches allows you to avoid sporadic shutdowns so that you can keep irrigating and save time. Not only can your micro-switches wreak havoc on your machine if ignored, but so can foreign material in span piping. Flushing your pipe periodically during the irrigating season and before the off-season can keep your machine free of accumulated sediments and prevent accelerated pipe corrosion or troublesome clogging.
3. Grease moving parts and fill wheel tracks.
Like many mechanical systems, your irrigation machine’s moving parts require lubrication to minimize steel-on-steel contact. Frequent greasing of your pivot point bearing, towable hubs, corner rollers and any other moving parts is the best way to avoid accelerated wear of components. To further prevent machine stress and protect other equipment from damage, be sure to fill deep wheel tracks during the off season. If battling wheel track conditions is a consistent or worsening issue for your operation, it may be time to look at the Valley line of high-flotation tire options or a new custom sprinkler package to keep your wheel tracks dry.
4. Use features in your smart panel to stay on top of maintenance.
Similar to your truck or tractor, frequent maintenance of your center pivot or linear is always recommended. Taking note of total machine hours from your Valley smart panel prior to servicing can help you keep track of your maintenance periods and habits. Additionally, utilizing features in your smart panel, like the built-in history log or the tire pressure monitor/shutdown option, can keep you updated on what is happening on your farm.
For additional maintenance tips or answers to your questions, please contact your local Valley dealer.