Thursday, May 30, 2013

Checking Your End Tower Pressure | by Brooke Stover

There are simple things that we sometimes forget about as we run out the door for work: tying your shoes (ouch), brushing your hair (yikes), or making sure your socks match (embarrassing – maybe I’m the only one who sometimes misses that step), but from these we can gather that sometimes the simplest things can make a big difference. This lesson holds true, not only in a panicked rush to work in the morning, but when it comes to running your operation.

In my research, talking to our water application engineer, I have found one of those simple things and would like to share it with you: check your end tower pressure on your center pivot!

I say that with an exclamation point because it really is easy to do and can, apparently, have a big impact. What kind of impact, you might ask? Well, did you know your sprinklers with pressure regulators require a minimum pressure to operate correctly? If the wrong pressure is being used by your machine, then your crops aren’t getting the water they need. Also, 50% of the acres in your field are irrigated by sprinklers on the outer 30% of your center pivot. If your end pressure is below the minimum design pressure, then you will experience under watering, which can reduce yields. To help put a stop to yield loss, we have put together simple steps to check your end tower pressure.

Install a pressure gauge at the end of your machine on the last drop between the pressure regulator and drop pipe or hose.
Tip: If your machine is on hilly terrain, you will want to install two pressure gauges: one at the end of your machine and the other at the intermediate span at the highest point in your field. 

No pressure gauge? No problem! Contact your local Valley dealer, he can provide you with several pressure gauge options that you can easily install!

Turn on your machine. 
(You may want to put on a raincoat between step 1 and step 2!)

Walk to where the pressure gauge is installed and read the PSI (pressure reading).
Tip: As a general rule of thumb, your pressure gauge should read at least 5 pounds higher than the PSI listed on your pressure regulator. So, if the PSI on your pressure regulator is 15 PSI, then your pressure gauge should read a minimum of 20 PSI. 

If you want to know EXACTLY what your pressure should be, then contact your local Valley dealer for a copy of your sprinkler design. The optimum pressure will be listed on the design.

So today (or tomorrow), tie your shoes, comb your hair, match your socks (or don’t - let’s start a trend!), and check your end tower pressure!

For more information on maintenance tips for your center pivot or linear, visit! Have a question or comment? Please leave it in the Comments box below!

Brooke Stover
Global Marketing Assistant

Brooke has been with the Valley Irrigation Global Marketing department since 2011. She spends her free time taking pottery classes; though she thoroughly enjoys this, most of her stuff is a bit lopsided. Brooke also loves to read and listen to Frank Sinatra. She enjoys traveling and has been to 11 countries with the goal to make it to six more in the next six years!