Making Every Drop Count

March 1, 2015

By Chad Schneider

Planting is likely foremost in your mind right now as you get geared up to hit the field in a few weeks.   But this is absolutely the perfect time to make sure your irrigation system is up to the task when it comes time to water your crop.

Your irrigation system should not be an afterthought.  With water allocations, precision irrigation scheduling, and soil moisture monitoring, irrigation is no longer about simply watering your crop.  Irrigation is a critical management strategy that can be the difference between profit and loss as you strive to maximize your yield potential.

Just as you get your tractors and planters ready to work this spring, you need to pay attention to your irrigation system as well.   It’s a lot easier to service an irrigation system when the ground is dry (or frozen) and there’s no crop to walk through or drive over.   And doing what you can now can help prevent breakdowns and downtime when irrigation is critical.

If you have a pivot system, pour yourself a cup of coffee and drive the length of your pivot.  Pay special attention to the gear boxes and drives to check for leaks.  If water got into your gear boxes at some point and froze, the seals may be compromised.   You should easily see oil leaks if that’s the case—and now is the time to get them fixed.

Check the tires as well.  Tire pressure changes with the weather.  You’ll also want to inspect for tread integrity and weather checking in the tires.  Again, it’s easier to throw a tire in the truck and drive right to the pivot today that lugging a tire through a muddy cornfield later.

The inspection for subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) systems should also be done before any tilling or planting.   Obviously, your system should have been winterized in the fall.   Once you have water available this spring, turn on the system.  Within 10 minutes, you’ll know if you have a leak as the soil in that area gets wet.   Mark any trouble spots and call us.  We’ll get out there pronto to repair the system and make it’s ready when you fire it up for real.

Apply rodent treatments now as these critters will get more active once the weather warms up.  And conduct inspections and service on all power units for both pivot and SDI systems.

And as always, you can count on the professionals at 21st Century Water to provide the expertise, insight and service you need to ensure that your crops get the water they need when they need it—and in the most efficient manner possible.