With summer long gone and winter rapidly approaching, it is time to take a few moments to inspect and maintain your irrigation equipment. This ensures the longevity of the equipment, helps minimize any unexpected downtime when you need to irrigate later in the season. It can also reduce the risk of discharges of wastes, which can cause environmental damage and possible fines for your farm.
Hard Hose Travelers
When inspecting your hard hose travelers ensure that all pressure gauges are working properly and replace any broken, or gauges that aren’t reading properly. If it is a liquid filled gauge check the level and refill with glycerin or hydraulic fluid if necessary. You should lubricate travelers according to the manufacture’s recommendation; this includes chains, and any points of turning. Inspect nozzles and rings for wear. This is often done during your bi-annual calibration, but can be done using calipers to measure the rings.
Pay close attention to intake lines. Check for wear and holes. Replace worn lines or broken couplings. If you are not planning on irrigating this winter, it is best to store travelers under a shelter to keep dry and clean.
Maintenance of your pumps is essential to ensure good working order, especially if you don’t plan on irrigating until next spring. Make sure all gauges are working properly. Check seals and connections to minimize leaks, replace where needed. Make sure air and pressure relief valves are free from debris.
Before performing any maintenance or service checks insure power is turned off. Drain and refill wheel oil annually. Check emergency-stop or auto reverse devices or switches. Drain grit traps periodically and monitor for excess accumulation and nozzle wear. Check all seals, flanges and couplings for leaks or wear. On sprinkler heads check for wear and remove any debris from splash plates and wobbler heads.
Proper maintenance of your irrigation equipment can insure that they are working properly for each irrigation event and help decrease wear and tear on the equipment. Regular maintenance can also help reduce operating costs or costs from replacing damaged equipment. Preparing now can help save headaches in the spring. Contact the Extension office for more information or for a free calibration of your irrigation equipment.