irrigation equipment in field with dusting of snow
WINTER IS COMING: Take notes of any issues with center pivots during the growing season and then evaluate components in preparation for winter.

A checklist for winterizing your center pivot

Evaluate your center pivots to ensure they’re ready for winter and another growing season.

By Troy Ingram

With irrigation season wrapped up, now is a good time to evaluate your center pivot to make sure it is ready for winter and for another growing season. Here is a quick list of things to look at before winter sets in:

Flushing the system
 Flush the system if you have water quality issues or if your well is pumping sand.

 Clean out the sand trap.

 Drain water from all aboveground pipe.

Panel boxes
 Check for loose or damaged connections.

 Seal up openings in panel boxes to avoid rodent damage.

Structure
 Check sprinkler chart for proper sprinkler placement.

 Check for worn or broken components, sprinklers and regulators.

 Replace sprinklers and components every 7,000 to 10,000 hours.

 Check for boots, gaskets, and mid-drains for leaks.

Drivetrain
 Drain water from gearboxes and top off with the proper lubricant.

 Check knuckles for wear and make sure shields are in place.

 Check tire pressure.

Pivot tracks
 Fill pivot tracks in during fall, so they can firm up over the winter.

Parking of pivot
 Position system parallel to prevailing winds.

 Park on level surface and not in an old track, so the system can expand or contract with freezing temperatures.

Locking out system
 You don't want the system to be turned on during the off-season without the grower's knowledge. Ice buildup could take the system down.

Cleanup of vegetation
 Remove vegetation around pivot point and well to make space less inviting to rodents.

Chemigation pumps
 Drain and clean pump and hoses.

Cattle and equipment
 If grazing cattle on stalks nearby, protect the system and pumping plant from cattle.

Ingram is a Nebraska Extension educator. This report comes from UNL Water.

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