Looking ahead to the coming months, Porter notes that growers should begin by conducting a thorough inspection of their irrigation system to make sure it’s in top shape and ready to run.
“Once the crops are up, the last thing you want is an irrigation system to break down,” Porter says. “I encourage (growers) to do a quick search online or go to their county (Extension) office and ask for our spring center-pivot checklist. It goes through the components (that growers) should check very thoroughly, has detailed pictures of the critical areas to check, discusses what to look for and even how to correct most of the problems.”
Once producers begin planting, they may apply irrigation to establish proper plant stands or activate herbicides. It’s during this time that a leaky pipe or flat tire may slow down the process.
“If farmers take care of these maintenance procedures before the growing season begins, it will save them much-needed time during critical water-use periods and prevent potential yield loss to their crops due to moisture stress,” Porter says.
In addition to conducting a full inspection, producers should ensure that the sprinklers are rotating properly in a uniform pattern. The oil should be changed, and the air filters on motors that run on diesel, gas or propane should be cleaned. All of these tips combined can make for a more successful planting season.