Pre-Season Maintenance Can Prevent In-Season Breakdowns
In the weeks before a new growing season, growers have a lot to do.
“It’s a very busy time for growers,” said Evan Carlson, product service technician at Lindsay Corporation. “From planters to tractors to irrigation equipment, growers have a lot of pre-season maintenance to take care of.”
For center pivots, Carlson said the first maintenance item to check off the list should be greasing the pivot point.
“It’s probably the most important that growers should do. This prevents premature failure of the pivot point from excessive friction,” he said. “A pivot point without grease will bind the pivot ell to the head weldment and twist the pivot point down. Grease the pivot once per year or every 1,000 hours, whichever comes first."
Carlson also recommends checking the following components:
- End gun – If the system is equipped with an end gun, make sure all plumbing is intact and appears to be in good working condition. Also, check for rodent damage, degradation of tubing and plugged plumbing.
- Drive line – Check the air pressure and visually inspect tires at the last tower for any signs of wear. Also, check the seals on the wheel gearboxes and center drive for signs of leakage, and repair or replace as necessary. And, if not done during the off-season, drain water from the bottom of these units and refill with oil. Repeat on every tower while working toward the pivot point.
- Sprinklers – Inspect the entire system for missing or damaged sprinklers and repair or replace as necessary. Missing or damaged items create inefficiencies in the system’s water application and negatively affect irrigation performance. Also check the drains on every tower (located at the beginning of each span) and replace as needed.
- Pivot Point – Make sure the pivot ell is securely connected and any drain plugs have been reinserted.
- Electrical – Apply power to the system and check for proper operation in both directions.
“A quick, visual inspection of the system before spring field work could prevent major, mid-season headaches,” Carlson said. “The pre-season check along with an off-season maintenance program provided by your dealer will ensure your irrigation machine operates in peak condition.”
Be sure to contact your local Zimmatic dealer if you have questions, need replacement parts or assistance with electrical troubleshooting.