The reasons for maintenance diligence are clear: the longer the center Pivot lasts, the less it costs in real terms; preventing breakdowns and downtime saves money; and a properly maintained Pivot is an efficient Pivot.
Irrigation systems aren’t personal, they don’t have a seat like a tractor. As a result, farmers can sometimes overlook the necessity to conduct regular maintenance on Pivots.
Those who don’t neglect routine service clearly reap the benefits of their discipline.
There are machines out there that are 20 years old or older that still have the original center drives and gearboxes on them.
It is all back to maintenance.
Maintenance tips to help prevent irrigation downtime
The most important maintenance items include:
Scheduling an annual maintenance operation will assure greater reliability and a longer life for the Pivots.
- Check air pressure in all tires.
- Drain any water from gearboxes and refill with the proper oil.
- Grease the Pivot swivel.
- Check to ensure all drive shaft and coupler shields are in place.
- Check sand trap to make sure sand is not building up. Flush if necessary.
- Check all nozzles at start-up time to ensure they are spraying properly.
- Ensure equipment is properly grounded.
End of season
- Drain the Pivot and all water connections to Pivot.
- After the first year of operation, drain and replace the oil from all wheel-drive gearboxes. Make sure you use the manufacturer’s oil.
- Change oil in the gearboxes at least every third year under normal operating conditions. For machines operating more than 1,000 hours a year, consider changing oil every other year.
Additional maintenance tips include routinely checking bolts for tightness and reviewing the condition of gearbox seals. In cold-weather areas, off-season maintenance should also include winterization efforts, such as making sure the system is draining properly and flushing the machine.