On the Farm: Handle Irrigation with Care

A central-pivot or other type of irrigation system is equipment that many farmers rely on to water crops. The systems can run on electricity or by other means such as diesel fuel or water pressure.

New-Mac Electric and Safe Electricity would like to remind anyone in the agricultural industry that moving irrigation pipes can be extremely dangerous around power lines. The watering pipes can be made of aluminum, a great conductor of electricity.

New-Mac Electric and Safe Electricity offer these irrigation safety tips:

  • Be extremely careful when assembling or moving long sections of irrigation pipes.
  • Always consider your location and the length of the pipe you are holding.
  • Make sure the pipe’s long reach will not come near or into contact with power lines.
  • If the pipe touches or comes too close to a power line, you could be electrocuted.
  • Do not store, handle or assemble irrigation pipes under or near overhead power lines.
  • In fact, do not store (or park) anything under power lines.

Installation and Maintenance

Although farmers are usually great at fixing anything and everything, it’s a good idea to have a qualified electrician install and maintain your irrigation’s electricals, which must meet National Electrical Code. Hire one who is experienced and well-versed in irrigation systems.

You might take for granted your irrigation electricals are working properly, but they need proper attention:

  • If your electrically driven center pivot system is not working correctly, it could be deadly or hazardous.
  • If electrical equipment or wiring is faulty, you could get shocked or electrocuted.
  • Irrigation systems run by an electric motor must be properly grounded with copper piping.
  • A system’s electricals should have a fuse or some means of disconnection.
  • If lightning strikes your irrigation equipment, it could mean that the system is no longer grounded.
  • Always shut off and lock the master control switch before servicing the machine.
  • Inspect the pump and wiring before the start of each irrigation season and consult your electrician with any concerns.

In general, talk to everyone in your family (including kids and teens) about the dangers of moving pipes. Teach irrigation safety to all staff and seasonal workers. Family members or workers might try to rearrange pipes for coverage or move them to free an animal and not realize how close they are to an overhead power line. In addition, they may try to use an electrical system that is damaged or not properly grounded.

We care about your safety. Please contact us with any concerns about electrical issues, power lines, irrigation equipment or any other safety concerns related to electricity.