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Are your irrigation systems ready for winter?

Jeff Caldwell Updated: 12/02/2013 @ 2:29pm Agricultural content creator and marketer.

The 2013 growing season's all but in the books. Winter's arrived quickly and abruptly to a lot of corn and soybean country, putting a rush on any postseason preparations for the long winter.

If you're an irrigator, you've got a lot of hardware out around the countryside. Getting that equipment put away properly right now can mean the difference between getting started quickly next spring or having to replace -- at considerable cost -- pipes, risers and pivot parts that may be damaged if out and exposed over the winter.

"Irrigation risers from underground lines often cost $200-$300. Z pipes, pivot elbows and center pipe can cost the farm more than $600 each and all are common irrigation freeze damage repairs. Often next year’s irrigation startup problems are winter damage that can be prevented," says Lyndon Kelley, an Extension ag engineer with Michigan State University and Purdue University. "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."

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