Before the planting season begins, it’s essential to perform an inspection of irrigation equipment to ensure it remains operational and efficient throughout the growing season. Potential issues with farm irrigation systems include:
- Center pivot irrigation pipeline is experiencing a detachment of its sprinkler and creating a geyser.
- When sprinklers no longer rotate or begin rotating uncontrollably.
- Pump water levels are declining, which results in pressure and system flow rates inadequately matching the equipment’s design.
- Boots, gaskets, and other seals experiencing leakage.
- Nozzles or pressure regulators are becoming plugged.
- If there’s too much distance between the sprinklers, that wide gap will cause plants not to receive water.
- Pressure regulators are failing.
What Do These Problems Mean for Irrigation?
If these problems continue persistently, they can result in too much water flowing in some areas and too little at others. Therefore, it’s vital that water uniformity checks occur periodically to ensure flows are adequate. Otherwise, if minor system problems remain and continue going without detection, they can result in a significant reduction in yields.
What Preventative Measures Can Farmers Use?
Because an irrigation system is such a significant investment, it doesn’t hurt for farmer’s to know pump and motor maintenance. In doing so, they’ll increase the efficiency and lifespan of these components. The first step is to examine the manufacturer specifications regarding coolant, filters, oil, and spark plugs. The next step is to ensure the bolts securing the motor remain tight. Finally, these subsequent maintenance procedures, conduct the following:
- The centrifugal pumps should have free movement
- Gaskets should have tight seals
- There shouldn’t be any leaks
- Adequate support should be available for piping and pumps
- There should be sufficient lubrication
What About What Distribution and Treatment?
It isn’t uncommon for preventative maintenance to extend to the need to modify irrigation water distribution. It’s possible to achieve this goal by adding chemicals, filtering, and reducing pressure. In doing so, farmers may find that their filters are undergoing a biological, chemical, or physical blockage. Each of these blocks prevents sufficient water distribution, which results in the pump experiencing a more massive load. Therefore, screens should have checks and cleanings regularly to prevent sediment or other substances from building up. If pressure regulators begin wearing out over time, they could be experiencing damage and should undergo an inspection. These inspections may reveal cracks in diaphragms or tears in hoses. It’s possible to diagnose problems by using pressure gauges directly down or up-stream of filters.
What Should Growers Do at the End of the Season?
Just as the beginning of the season is essential for maintaining irrigation pivots, so is the end. It’s at this point growers should be looking for how their water distribution patterns are occurring and if remedies need to happen. Additionally, lines should experience cleaning and flushing to ensure they continue working optimally. If the grower’s region calls for winter leaching to occur, this is also the optimal time for setting that up.
Choose Woofter Construction & Irrigation for Your Irrigation Systems Maintenance
Seeking more information regarding the maintenance of your pivot irrigation system? Are you ready to implement a regular systems maintenance schedule? Contact our experts at Woofter Construction & Irrigation at (785) 462-8653 or contact us and we’ll guide you through the best options for your maintenance, as well as future repairs.