Over time, farmers have learned, if not to prevent, then to reduce the scale of irrigation track problems caused by the movement of the wheels of the support towers. Today, sprinklers are usually equipped with 11.2 × 24 tires, and after harvesting, the track from the movement of the machine is either filled with various types of fillers or plowed over. Nevertheless, in some fields, problems with deep ruts and malfunctions in the movement of vehicles are still relevant. Because of this, many irrigation equipment manufacturers initially began to fit equipment wheels with larger tires.
But, as mentioned earlier, this measure is not always sufficient. Experienced farmers prefer to combine the elements of four different strategies at once.
At the stage of design and installation of equipment
First, it is best to envisage a solution to the track gauge problem at the stage of developing an irrigation project. During this period, the irrigation equipment supplier, together with the farmer, should carefully study the field layout and mark potentially dangerous places.
The risk zone includes, for example, areas with heavy soil and poor drainage, areas with slopes where runoff can form, or areas with natural sources. It is also worth paying attention to the lowlands in which water can accumulate, or the very steep slopes along which the wheels of the cart will move. By collecting and analyzing this information, you can prevent the problem by simply incorporating the length of each span into the design.
It is equally important to consider the weight that each set of wheels carries. Obviously, the longer the spans and the larger the pipe diameter of the installation, the greater the load on the wheels. With this in mind, the cost of shorter spans and smaller pipes may well be justified.
Other solutions are also possible. Some farmers, for example, simply move the pivot off the track by adding a 3 ft (0,91 m) extension to the console. This allows you to shift the course of all support towers from the filled tracks, and the soil in a specific area is restored over time.
When installing the irrigation system, it is necessary to correctly align the wheel alignment. Keep in mind that the wheels closest to the center cart are the most important because they make the shortest turns. If left unadjusted, the pivot point may shift and cause additional bearing load.
The key to reducing track depth is to reduce the pressure of each wheel on the ground. This can be achieved in two ways: by reducing the length of the spans and using pipes of a smaller diameter, or by increasing the area of the wheels supporting the pivot bearings. You can improve the result by using larger tires, more wheels per tower, or by adding a track system on top of existing pneumatic tires.
Oversized pneumatic tires are recommended as they help reduce rutting problems. Farmers often prefer to use taller tires instead of wider ones. This is due to the fact that it is more difficult for agricultural machines to overcome wide tire tracks.
Also pay attention to radial tires, which have become especially popular in recent years. Manufacturers claim that these tires have a shallower track (20-30 percent) than bias tires. The advantages of radial tires also lie in the fact that they less compact the soil structure and withstand heavy loads.
When choosing tires, keep in mind that all tires on the wheels of each specific tower must be the same. Although in cases where the deep rut is formed from only a few supports, there is no need to replace tires on the entire axle.
The next way to avoid problems with rutting is to maintain proper maintenance of the control points. Proper management involves checking and adjusting the tire pressure before the start of the irrigation season. In addition, for the first time a year, the installation must be run dry, on dry ground. This will help to compact the soil in the rut so that it does not sink as much during the irrigation season. Another tip is to start the sprinkler according to the field situation. Each time she makes a pass, she deepens the turning paths. Make a schedule that will ensure that the axle does not move on very wet soil (after watering or rain). Stop the sprinkler when it starts raining.
Do not forget that you can fill in rubble or other suitable materials into the deep rut, which will be an excellent basis for moving the axle.
After harvesting, be sure to fill the problem areas of the track with soil so that the soil has time to level out before the next season.
One of the new ways to combat rutting is based on the use of super absorbent polymers (SAP), which can hold 400 times its own weight of water.
SOILPAM ™ TRACKLOG ™ is a gel made from a linear anionic copolymer. The principle of operation is simple: the product is placed in a place where there is a sufficient flow of water (for example, on a support tower, see photo), the water slowly dissolves the polymer, drops of the substance fall to the ground when the system moves, compacting the surface, and minimizing the depth of the irrigation rut systems.
The product is very economical, in addition, its use helps reduce axle maintenance costs while increasing water infiltration into the ground both along the road and around the wheel tracks.
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