Winterizing your center pivot
Irrigation season has ended here in Nebraska and it’s time to evaluate your center pivot system to make sure it is ready for winter and for another growing season. Here is a list of things to check.
- If you have water quality issues or if your well is pumping some sand, flush out the system.
- Clean out the sand trap.
- Drain water from all aboveground pipe.
- Check for loose or damaged connections.
- Seal up openings to avoid rodent damage.
- Check the grounding connection and grounding rod.
- Check sprinkler chart for proper sprinkler placement.
- Check for worn or broken components, sprinklers, and regulators.
- Replace every 7,000 to 10,000 hours.
- Check for boots, gaskets, and mid-drains for leaks.
- Chick span to span grounding connection.
- Drain water from gearboxes and top off with the proper lubricant.
- Check for oil leaks around seals on the gearboxes.
- Check knuckles for wear and make sure shields are in place.
- Check tire pressure.
- Fill wheel tracks in the fall so they can firm up over the winter.
- Position system parallel to prevailing winds.
- Park on a level surface not in an old track so the system can expand/contract with the freezing temperatures.
- Lock and secure the system. You don’t want the system to be turned on during the offseason without the grower’s knowledge as ice could build up and damge the pivot structure.
- Clean up vegetation around the pivot point and well.
- Make the space less inviting to rodents.
- Drain and clean pump and hoses.
Protection from cattle
- If grazing cattle on stalks, protect the system and pumping plant from cattle.
- Take time this fall to note problems you encountered during the growing season and plan how to address them before the next irrigation season.