It is time to winterize your irrigation systems.

Often next year’s irrigation start-up 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 season when everyone is busy.

Park pivots in safe location

When choosing a location to park the system for the winter, consider the three most common potential sources of 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 at least 100 feet from the tree line.

Drain pivots

Most of the currently designed pivots have automatic frost drains that drain the main overhead pipe. Plugged automatic frost drains can lead to major repairs if not caught in a fall inspection.

Rock traps need to be cleaned and drained. Pivot supply lines, end gun supply and hydro control hoses are often installed to allow drainage, but the hose may sag and hold water which can lead to damage. Remember to cap all large openings into the system to prevent bird nesting.

Drain travelers and big guns

Travelers and stationary big guns often have portions of their system that may hold water. Drain and roll-up hoses, unhook and drain end couplers and drain water drive pistons and motors that may be damaged by freezing.

Pump down or drain underground pipelines

Most underground pipelines are buried deep enough to prevent freeze damage, but often require pumping or draining enough water from them to empty the upper portion of Z-pipe risers and pump manifolds.