There are a number of tools you need to keep your center pivot irrigation system operating properly. Sometimes, the most valuable tools are not the ones in your toolbox. Software solutions, like Valley® BaseStation3™ can be just as valuable of a tool as your favorite pair of pliers.
When purchasing a center pivot, you likely have expectations for the lifespan of your equipment. Some center pivot pipelines are still dependable after 25 to 30 years of use, which would be ideal. However, some pipelines show leaks after only 7 to 10 years. So why do some farmers have better luck with center pivots than others?
In the last 20 years, the U.S. has seen a considerable change in groundwater chemicals that drastically affect how water corrodes irrigation pipelines. Corrosive water damages irrigation pipelines and can decrease the life of a center pivot. There are different options available for combating corrosion. Some options are much better than others depending on the pH, chloride, sulfate, and other chemical levels in your water.
Deep wheel tracks can be a headache in the field. They lead to low crop clearance and can cause your center pivot or linear to get stuck mid-rotation. A common misconception is that a longer or heavier span automatically means deeper wheel tracks. This is simply not true.
During periods of drought, or even in short mid-season dry times, you can easily tell which fields are irrigated and which are not simply by the color and size of the crop. Plant growth in dryland farming may be stunted, and continual wilting of the plant can potentially decrease yield up to 8 percent every day, depending on the growth stage. In extreme cases, an entire crop will be completely unusable and unsellable. Fortunately, most of these problems can be eliminated by providing crops with adequate irrigation all the way through plant maturity. One of the most efficient irrigation methods is mechanized irrigation, or center pivot irrigation.
When you think about what part of your center pivot endures the most wear and tear, the drive train is one of the first things that come to mind. The center drive and gearboxes bear long load hours and rough terrain day in and day out during the irrigation season. The secret to maintaining your machine and extending its life is to make sure these key components are of the highest quality.