At our State-Wide event Dr Joseph Foley and Mr David McLaren facilitated a workshop on the issues that irrigators are having with centre pivots.
A common problem that came up from the discussions was pivot wheel rut issues. Most growers were actually doing very little to address this problem. Some were filling ruts with rocks and gravel.
Here are some suggestions for addressing pivot wheel rut issues:
- Plumbing in the centre pivot span drains to the 3rd nozzle from the wheels so when the machine stops it drains the water away from the wheel tracks.
- Part circle nozzles with a smaller nozzle orifice to through water away from the wheel tracks.
- Spreader bars fitted to the machine to take the nozzles around the wheels out behind the machine in opposite to direction of travel (essentially aiming to achieve a dry walk while irrigating), some brands offer a genuine solution or this can be achieved with some basic on farm engineering.
- Smaller lighter machines to reduce the weight on the ground. Small machines are somewhat limited in Australia by service providers, but can assist with this issue.
- Tyre size on the machine to reduce ground pressure. It is possible to run wider floatation tyres, some brands of machine are now offering three wheel towers to assist with floatation, plastic tyres and in some cases tracks, although this can be expensive.
All of these solutions seek to reduce ground pressure, increase traction and in turn reduce pivot wheel ruts, and bogging issues.