In most regions of the United States, days are getting shorter and colder as summer halts to a stop and fall/winter weather rolls in. By this point, many farmers are looking to hang up their hats and hibernate for winter. An important task to do prior to freezing temperatures is winterizing of irrigation systems. Winterizing is an important step in maintenance for the system and ensures that you’ll have ready-to-go irrigation pumps and equipment come next spring – saving you from downtime during the valuable growing season.
Winterization seems like it would be a straightforward task, however the steps on your checklist may change depending on what kind of irrigation system you have. We’ll be covering one of the most common types in the U.S., center pivot.
Center pivot irrigation utilizes a system of sprinklers that move on wheeled “towers” in a pretty much circular pattern, hence the name. Most used in the Midwest, center pivot irrigation is useful for large, flat areas of land.
Center Pivot Irrigation
When preparing a center pivot irrigation system for winter, there are several different “nooks and crannies” that need to be checked for proper winterization. To begin, when you are preparing to shut down your system for the year, conduct a sprinkler performance check. This includes using a “catch-can” uniformity test. This test uses any type of containers (typically cans are used, which is where the name comes from) that are set up at different intervals along the irrigation system. Then, the sprinklers are turned on in each zone for a few minutes and the water caught in the containers is measured. If the water levels are equal – or near equal – your system is working efficiently.
A couple of other winterizing checklist items:
For vertical turbine irrigation pump motors in particular, the following suggestions are recommended:
As a last step, make sure that you secure your components – close any cover openings and lock any control boxes.
No matter what type of irrigation system you use, some other helpful overall tips include:
If you require any technical assistance with your motor – either with winterizing or getting it started in the new year, please contact us with any questions.