Annual Irrigation System Maintenance
Similarly to many other things on your ranch, your irrigation needs routine as well as end of the year maintenance to properly shut your system down for the season. A proper shut down plan will ensure your irrigation system will run at peak performance year after year.
Your maintenance plan should be broken into two areas of focus, your pump/filter station and in field irrigation system (sprinklers/drip tubing).
Winterization of your pump and filter station will ensure your system is ready for the following year. The goal is to clean the system and remove water to prevent freezing.
One way to clean the system is to inject chlorine upstream of the media filters to control algae or bacterial growth. Then flush system with fresh water to clean out chlorine.
Check sand levels and condition of filters. Sand should be changed every 3 to 5 years depending on how much the system operates.
Flush any fertilizer pumps and hoses.
Once the entire system is cleaned, drain system by emptying filters, removing water from PD switch, valve bonnets, solenoids, pilots, chemical injection equipment and pipelines.
For further information please visit Netafim's TechTalk on Filter Maintenance.
In Field System
Cleaning your drip/sprinkler lines will keep bacteria from growing as well as help with calcification of your emitters.
Repair any minor leaks or breaks in the lines that may have been missed during the season.
Chemical injection will remove scale and organic matter from the system. If ignored, organic materials may grow during long periods of inactivity.
Give a through flush of mainlines, manifolds and driplines.
Now is a good time to tackle any rodent management practices to keep them away during inactivity.
Finally, drain water out of the entire system.
For more information please visit Netafim's TechTalk on Winterizing Drip Irrigation Systems.