Irrigation risers from underground lines often cost $200-$300; Z pipes, pivot elbows and center pipe can cost the farm more than $600 each.

And all are subject to freeze damage.

Quite often, next year’s irrigation startup problems are winter damage that can be prevented. Time spent now will prevent damage and lead to a better start on next year’s irrigation season.

Inspection of the system now allows you to make improvements and repairs in the less costly off-season and get irrigation problems out of the way for spring planting when everyone is busy.

Steel pipes up in the air may freeze solid days before we think of freezing weather on the ground.

Park pivots in a safe location

When choosing a location to park the system for the winter, consider the three most common potential sources of winter damage: Wire theft is less likely in a visible but inaccessible area of the field; Wind damage is less likely if pivot points into or away from the wind direction rather than perpendicular to wind direction; and squirrels and other rodent damage to span wire is rare when pivots are a few hundred feet from the tree line.

Get rid of the brush and branches near equipment

Squirrel and chipmunk damage to span-wire and gaskets can be minimized by removing limbs near equipment parked for the winter, preventing animals jumping between trees and the structure.

Trimming trees and removing brush near control panels and disconnect boxes reduces the chance of rodent damage. Removing woodchucks from the vicinity of pivot and pumping plant pads or electrical box can also help prevent damage.