Updated: Nov 17
Winter is coming. Prepare accordingly by winterizing one of your most important pieces of farm equipment: your fertigation pump. Getting your pump ready for the cold months will prevent damage and ensure it’s in optimal condition when spring arrives. Protecting your pump will also extend its lifespan and save you money in the long term. You can complete the simple (yet crucial) winterization process quickly with the right tools and know-how. This step-by-step guide is a great place to start. But for specific questions about your pump, refer to your user manual, reach out to the pump manufacturer, or contact a trusted agronomist. Step 1: Gather Your Supplies Before you begin, make sure you have all the necessary supplies and tools on hand: - Rubber gloves - Safety goggles or glasses - Wrenches or pliers - Screwdriver - Bucket or container - Clean, dry rags - Hose or water supply from pivot - RV antifreeze or windshield wiper fluid Step 2: Turn Off the Power Safety comes first. Before cleaning your fertigation pump, disconnect the power supply to ensure it won't accidentally start during the process. Step 3: Drain the System Next, you'll want to drain the fertigation system completely. Start by turning off the valve at the fertilizer tank/pump supply line. Collect any excess fertilizer from the lines. Do your part to protect your land and community by not allowing it to drain onto the ground or into nearby water sources. Use a clean bucket or receptacle to gather extra fertilizer so you can either put it back into the tank and run it through the system in the future, or properly dispose of it. Step 4: Rinse the System Fill the pump’s supply line with clean water, turn the chemigation pump on, and allow it to pump the clean water through the system.
Step 5: Rinse with Antifreeze Fill the hose supply line with RV antifreeze or windshield wiper fluid. Turn the pump on and allow it to pump the antifreeze through the lines until the supply line is nearly empty.
Step 6: Inspect and Lubricate Examine the pump and its components for any signs of damage or wear. Replace any damaged parts as needed. Watch closely during steps 4 and 5 to see if there are any leaks. Check to see if the pump oil reservoir still has oil and there is no water inside. Water in the oil reservoir can be a sign of damaged internal components. Refer to your pump's manual for specific reassembly instructions. Step 7: Clean the Injector
Rinse the outside of the injector with water and clean off any buildup or residue with an unused, dry rag.
Step 8: Clean the Pump Housing With the pump injector removed, you can now clean the pump housing. Use a clean, dry rag to wipe down the interior of the pump housing to remove any dirt, debris, or fertilizer residue. If there are stubborn deposits, a pressure washer can be useful, but use caution to avoid damaging sensitive parts. Step 9: Store and Protect from the Elements After thoroughly cleaning and inspecting the components, wrap up the supply line, injector line, and power cord. To protect your fertigation pump from winter weather, consider storing it in a shop or covering it with a waterproof and UV-resistant tarp or a custom-made enclosure if possible. This will prevent exposure to moisture and UV radiation, which can lead to damage over time. A Little Short-term Work for Long-term Gains Properly cleaning and preparing your fertigation pump for winter is essential to ensure its longevity and reliable performance when spring arrives. By following a few easy steps, you can prevent costly damage and maintain your pump’s efficiency. Your future self will thank you.