What is in this article?:
• Broken pipes from freeze damage and electrical equipment failure are results of poor winter preparation of irrigation equipment.
Travelers, big guns
Drain travelers and big guns
Travelers and stationary big guns often have portions of their system that hold water. Drain and roll-up hoses, unhook and drain ends couplers and drain water drive piston and motors/impeller drive systems that may be damaged by freezing.
Trickle and drip lines and tape
Trickle and drip lines and tape are designed to be self-draining but manifolds and supply systems need attention to make sure no water pockets remain to freeze. Winter rodent damage can turn usable drip tape and trickle line into junk rapidly. Lines that are to be moved for next year are best stored in the barn. Lines over wintering in the field stand less rodent damage if not covered by plastic, plant material or mulch.
Pump down or drain underground pipe lines
Most underground pipe lines are buried deep enough to prevent freeze damage, but they often require pumping or draining enough water from them to empty the upper portion of Z-pipe risers and pump manifolds. This is typically done by purging the system with air or modifying a fertilizer transfer pump to pump the system at its lowest outlet or inlet points. Remember to cap all pipe inlets and outlets to prevent animals from entering.
Drain the pumping plant
Drain pumps and manifolds to the lowest point they can hold water. Replace brass drain plugs if damaged.
Well designed pumping installations will be easy to drain without striping drain plug threads or the need for air purging. Inspect gauges, supply and control wires for needed repairs.
Service the engine with attention to engine oil, bearing and seal lubrication. Check the cooling system for adequate anti-freeze level and concentration. Drain the fuel tank to reduce water accumulation in fuel tank and potential theft.