It is hard to think about irrigating crops right now, especially amid the rainy and soggy conditions some areas in South Georgia have experienced over the past few weeks. But it is likely to become a reality at some point during the growing season.
It behooves farmers to check their equipment and make any necessary modifications now rather than waiting to do it mid-season. After all, what else can they do right now since field conditions are too soggy to work in anyway?
“That’s one thing, you can’t get in the field to do any work, but you can definitely go out and check your pivots and make sure everything’s ready to roll on them. I’d say any machinery now, we can throw it out there beyond pivots, we just want to check, now that we can’t do anything in the field, lets make sure we’ve got that equipment ready to go,” said Wes Porter, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Ag Engineer and irrigation specialist.
Once crops like corn, cotton and peanuts are planted, they need water to help them emerge out of the ground. If it is not raining, irrigation is needed immediately. Farmers don’t need to wait until then to fix a leaky pipe or a problem with the pumping system, though, especially since that work can be done now.
Growers are encouraged to check their electrical systems and make sure there are not any wires exposed or have been chewed on by rodents. It is also a good idea to check tires to make sure they are properly inflated. Producers can also set out rain gauges in the field to see if the system is applying enough water and to determine if recalibration is needed.
Check Other Equipment as Well
Irrigation pivots and pipes are important, but they’re not the only equipment that could use a tune-up before farmers hit the fields. Porter advises farmers to check their planters to ensure they’re ready to go, specifically with their depth and downforce settings.
“Make sure that we are comfortable with our maintenance on that equipment so we’re not having issues getting that seed in the ground when we’re ready to roll,” Porter said.