Last-Minute Pivot TLC Will Boost ROI

Published online: Apr 22, 2021 New Products, News Lindsay Corporation
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Source: Lindsay Corporation

As the 2021 growing season begins, irrigation experts are urging farmers not to skimp on pivot maintenance this season. It is especially crucial this year:

  • Coming out of a brutal winter in many parts of the country requires extra diligence. “Pivots are very rugged, reliable machines, but weather can take a toll,” says Jonathan Dahmann from Zimmatic dealer ATS Irrigation in Brenham, Texas.
  • Drier-than-normal conditions this spring place added importance on pivots functioning efficiently and accurately.
  • Favorable market conditions this year exacerbate the cost of leaving yield on the table.

“Properly maintained pivots offer yield advantages and can reduce input costs,” says Brad Dunbar, regional sales manager for Lindsay Corporation. “Spending a handful of hours ahead of planting could translate to thousands more dollars in growers’ pockets come harvest due to reduced downtime and in-season service calls.”  

It’s not too late for growers to prep their pivots for optimal results this season. Here’s what Dunbar recommends prioritizing these six “last-minute must-dos” before planting begins:

  1. Pay special attention to components that could have been damaged by prolonged freezing temperatures, ice and snow, including sand traps, drain valves, end gun valves and the automatic valves that control water flow.
  2. Lubricate the pivot head to keep the pivot point moving freely during operation.
  3. Inspect drivelines. Worn joints and driveline bolts are easy to repair at the beginning of the season, but can be challenging to repair later.
  4. Check sprinkler nozzles and replace as necessary to ensure proper pressure, which has a direct impact on water distribution uniformity and, ultimately, yield.
  5. Check oil in gear boxes and center drive motors.
  6. Check tire pressure to help maintain adequate flotation and prevent excessive gearbox wear.

Make sure to take any regional nuances into account and check with your local dealer on specific advice for your location.

The Future of Pivot Maintenance

As development of what Lindsay calls its “smart pivot” progresses throughout this growing season, the company will field-test a number of new capabilities to help growers better solve operational challenges, including reducing time spent on pivot maintenance.

Announced late last year, the smart pivot comes to life through two smart streams: Zimmatic machine health and FieldNET advanced agronomics. The machine health stream is designed to reduce risk and operational downtime. In the works is using edge computing and machine learning to streamline these efforts.

This season, beta customers will experience the benefits of the pivot proactively identifying potential maintenance issues, such as low tire pressure and tower misalignment.

“The goal is to strengthen growers’ competitive advantages by making the pivot smarter and more self-sufficient,” says Reece Andrews, product manager at Lindsay.

The smart pivot is expected to be available for a limited commercial release in 2022. For more information, visit