A sprinkler-and-hose system irrigation a field of seedlings

What Fall Means For Your Irrigation System 

Fall means the harvest. While people on the outside may think of fall at the farm in terms of apple picking, hayrides, and other agritourism attractions, those who work in the fruit growing industry know that the fall harvest also means preparing your operations for winter. 

It’s the end of summer, and fall is right around the corner. Seasoned pros are always thinking seasonally, which means now is the time to think past the harvest to your winterizing tasks, including your irrigation systems. With lots of small parts, moving parts, and critical parts, ensuring your irrigation system is in top shape before the winter is key to starting your spring off on the right foot next year. 

What You Need Before Getting Started 

Before you set out to inspect and conduct irrigation repairs, make sure you have spare irrigation parts to repair drip lines, sprinklers, valves, or filters, and any accompanying tools you’ll need to do a quick, in-the-field fix. While we’d love to have you stop by one of our supply centers, you likely won’t want to interrupt your irrigation repairs with a trip to the store. 

Inspecting And Repairing Your Crop Irrigation Systems 

Depending on what type of crop irrigation systems you have in place, some of the following tips may not apply to your specific operations. According to the irrigation specialists at Fruit Growers Supply, here’s what you need to do to prepare your irrigation systems for the winter:

  • Flush your system directly after the harvest, so it’s clean to put away for the winter. 
  • Check filters for sand or tears in the screens.
  • Winterize your valves.
  • Check your wiring on your pumps and other electrical equipment for signs of wear, so your systems will start right up when you need them in the spring.
  • Check your sprinklers to ensure they spin correctly.
  • Spot check your drip lines for uniform output.

It’s likely that harvest equipment will cause at least some damage to your crop irrigation systems, even with best practices in place. Dripper lines might be accidentally cut, and sprinklers and valves may be damaged or broken by heavy harvest equipment. You’ll need to conduct repairs directly after the harvest, so your systems are a go for the last few weeks of fall and your trees don’t go to bed dry.

Thinking Of Making Your Irrigation System More Sustainable?

If you’re planning to switch to a more sustainable crop irrigation system, the fall is the time to do so! There’s a lot you can do to cut down on water usage with irrigation, including improving or overhauling your crop irrigation system with a more sustainable one. In fact, fall is the time to do any type of system upgrades or expansion. Installation crews are the least busy in the fall and winter, so particularly if you’re looking to automate part or all of your systems, after the harvest is the best time to get a hold of them. 

Some features you should consider incorporating will make your irrigation easier and can save you money in California where you pay by the inch once you surpass your allowance. Accurately monitoring the amount of water you pull from the ground is critical to running a cost-effective operation. You’ll want to pay only for what you use, and not the projected estimates for your area. Adding water meters, soil moisture sensors, and site weather stations can help you know when exactly to irrigate based on real-time data on local conditions. Installing these during the fall and winter after the harvest will help set you up for success for your next growing season.  

Talk With Our Irrigation Specialists Today

At Fruit Growers Supply, we’re here to ensure your operations are set up for your success. We’ve been in business for over a century, with more experience than almost any other irrigation system maintenance practitioners in the country. If you want the job done right, let us be your first call. 

We provide crop irrigation system design and installation services, and we carry all the supplies you need to winterize your system and keep it running smoothly in the next year. From carry pipes, tubing, pumps, filters, emission devices, to your simple irrigation shovel, if you need it, we’ve got you covered with affordable prices and quick shipping. Or you can stop by one of our supply centers today and let us know what we can do for you.

Have any questions? We’re happy to help – stop in one of our supply stores today, or fill out our contact form by clicking below.

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