Proper Maintenance of Irrigation Pumps

Irrigation Maintenance for Produce

On-Time Irrigation

Nature has its own way of irrigating crops, and it is less than perfect. If it had the right timing for rain, the amount required, and pinpoint coverage, the irrigation market, would disappear. Unfortunately, rainfall is a little contrary and unpredictable, so innovative solutions were needed. Farmers used to primarily irrigate their cropland using available water resources like rivers and lakes. Today, supplemental irrigation systems utilize channels, canals, ditches, and groundwater reserves to produce quality crops.  

Irrigation pumps are a part of those systems and help provide and regulate these alternate watering options. Water use for irrigation worldwide is estimated at 70% and encompasses a wide range of crops. The demands required to have a reliable and efficient operation are essential. Each region’s climate, soil conditions and available water supply determines the irrigation equipment’s water distribution on the farmlands. After all, the high point of any farming calendar is the harvest.

Irrigation Engines
Various PTO applications for irrigating crops include bananas, wheat, and cotton.

Irrigation Pump – Maintenance Overview

While harvesting is important, so is maintaining your equipment before you need it. Properly maintaining your irrigation engines, power take-offs (PTO), and pumps improve the growing season. Ignoring those maintenance tasks on equipment until the first day you need to water is a high-risk bet. You are gambling that the winter, debris, corrosion, and a host of other issues aren’t going to impact your unit’s operation. Now is the time to ensure the irrigation equipment is in running order, especially during summer, when irrigation is typically in full swing until harvest. 

Seasonal PTO Maintenance

The performance and longevity of your system come through preventive maintenance inspections. This should include not only the engine and pump but the power take-off and its components. Focusing on the latter, you will want to refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines, including the equipment manual, for the specific maintenance and recommended intervals. You can find WPT Power’s resources here.

With that as the start, a good follow-up would be a visual examination for signs of wear, damage, or loose connections on the unit and parts. Next is the physical inspection of your power take-off. This partial checklist offers suggestions on areas to inspect and repair. Again, check maintenance manuals.

  • Lubrication: Check and lubricate the grease fittings on the PTO operating shaft, bearings, and other components. 
  • Proper Engagement: Ensure that the PTO engages and disengages smoothly and correctly. Verify that the engagement mechanism, such as a clutch or hand lever assembly, functions properly and securely, locking the PTO when in the engaged position.
  • Alignment: Check the alignment between the power take-off shaft and the pump. Misalignment of shafts and belts can lead to excessive vibration, premature wear, and potential damage to the PTO and pump. 
  • Replace Damaged or Worn Parts: If any PTO component is damaged or shows signs of wear beyond acceptable limits, replace it promptly. This includes worn-out bearings, damaged yokes, or compromised shafts.

Whether replacing worn parts or the whole unit, WPT Power has a proven range of Mechanical Power Take-Offs to meet your needs. These are field-tested favorites for even the most demanding applications. Remember, it’s crucial to prioritize safety and pay extra attention when conducting maintenance on the pump units. Cutting corners could lead to risks that can cause damage and unwanted downtime.

Crop Irrigation Maintenance
New vineyard in California utilizes a pump unit for irrigation.

Summary Thoughts

While the irrigation equipment is more than the sum of its parts, a well-maintained power take-off can add significant economic advantages to the unit. It allows farmers to mitigate water shortfalls, control the timing cycles, and regulate the amount of water applied to their crops. The WPT PTO’s performance and longevity help aid your system by expanding the growing season and allowing crops to be cultivated throughout the year.

Are you looking for a heavy-duty lineup for wear parts and power take-offs? Contact WPT Power or give us a call today! Off-the-shelf or custom OEM applications, WPT’s products are constructed with the grower in mind.