Spring planting is just around the corner, so for producers with irrigation systems, now is a good time to do some safety maintenance on their pivot systems, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialist.
In the spring, producers are busy making seed selections and prepping fields, but they also need to remember how important it is to maintain center pivots, said Dr. Kevin Heflin, AgriLife Extension agronomy program specialist, Amarillo.
Estimates are there are more than 7,500 center pivot irrigation systems in the Texas High Plains alone, Heflin said. After working with and monitoring many systems over the years, he wants people to know there are some simple things to look for in a safety and maintenance check that can save lives and time once the irrigation season gets underway.
Five things to monitor that Heflin discussed are:
- General maintenance issues. Tires, lug nuts, truss rods and brackets, and gear motors are all things that need visual inspections.
- Storm damage from wind and lightning
- Rodent damage in and around electrical boxes
- Improper grounding
- Vandalism, such as the stripping of copper wire from these systems
Heflin said producers should also ensure electrical boxes are relatively clean and fuses/breakers are properly sized for the voltage and amps being used. He also said it might be good to have a certified electrician inspect the terminal lugs in the electrical boxes to ensure they are tight and making good contact with the wires.
These routine maintenance and safety inspections do not have to be overly burdensome, he said, and they are worth the time and effort now to prevent breakdowns and tragedies down the road.
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