Drought having an impact on irrigation systems

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AKRS Equipment technicians expect to see a large amount of maintenance done on irrigation systems this fall, because of the dry weather producers experienced this summer.

We talked with Brad Detlefsen at the Norfolk AKRS Equipment dealership about the challenges irrigators have faced this year.

“What we are seeing right now with the lack of rain, is if people have sprinkler packages that are not up to date, it’s really showing,” Detlefsen said. “Wells are dropping off, and now is the time when you realize your sprinklers need to be upgraded or looked at. I’m sure we’ll see a lot of that over the fall and winter.”

Detlefsen says another piece of the maintenance puzzle is variable-rate irrigation. He says this will help preserve water and save money.

“With the lack of rain, and these wells dropping off, maybe we can save some water, by putting the water where we need in the crops, and not so much where we don’t need it. That’s going to be key going forward after a year like this, is making sure we are utilizing the water and preserving what we can through variable-rate equipment.”

AKRS experts admit that this summer, many hours have been put on Nebraska irrigation systems due to the drought conditions.

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“We are really going to need to get in the fields after harvest, look at the machines, and address any maintenance issues before spring,” Detlefsen said. “There’s going to be a lot of worn-out parts. We do inspection programs to where if you call us, we can come through, look at your pivot and locate those worn parts, so it can be ready to go next year.” Our guys are all factory certified to go through these machines, so we are pretty confident in our ability to find the worn items. We are a Valley dealer. Five of our AKRS locations are with Valley, and that includes Norfolk, Neligh, Albion, Spalding and Plainview. We stock parts in all of those stores, we have service techs at all of those stores, so we are just a phone call away. Right now, a lot of people are having trouble with pressure and wells keeping up. One thing to do might be to shut down the end gun to help build pressure back up. It will be rough finishing out this year.”

Water conservation is important when it comes to irrigation, and AKRS offers options.

“There are several different ways we can handle that. We can control the speed of your pivot, we can speed it up, slow it down, or apply different rates. We can also control banks of sprinklers or individual sprinklers to avoid areas where water might be wasted. There’s a lot we can look at. I would say the main message right now is maintenance after harvest,” Detlefsen said. “Feel free to get in touch with us, and we can help.”