How to avoid irrigator damage

How to avoid irrigator damage

FMG has paid over $2.7 million in claims over the past five years, excluding the Canterbury windstorms, for damage caused while an irrigator was in use.

Many of these losses could have been prevented or minimised so we've partnered with Irrigation NZ to bring you the FMG Irrigator Advice Guide. This includes information on what to consider when putting together a plan. Just click to download your copy.

Typical irrigation-related claims we have received include:

  • Parking a farm bike and trailer near the irrigator before setting it going. The irrigator clips the trailer on the back of the quad, ruining the trailer and damaging the irrigator.
  • Towing the irrigator to a new paddock without pre-planning the route, clipping trees on the way and damaging the irrigator to the tune of $6,000.
  • Setting an irrigator going on uneven, unsuitable ground, tipping the machine and requiring repairs of around $8,000.

How to avoid irrigator damage

Taking just a little extra time to walk the irrigator track before flicking the 'on' switch could save you thousands of dollars. All it can take to damage an irrigator is a new dip in the track caused by a washout, tipping the machine or damaging the gearbox.

Here are some simple things you can do to avoid costly irrigator damage:

  • Check the paddock for foreign objects and any changes to the ground or surrounding trees, shelter belts and hedges before setting the irrigator going. This is particularly important before making the first run of a new season, as there will have been some growth since the last time the irrigator was run. Don't forget any new power poles or fences that may have been installed. Order our stickers below to remind your team to check the track.
  • Be extra vigilant in high winds. If you can’t move your machinery out of the wind and into a shed, consider creating a parking space for your irrigator in-line with your region’s prevailing winds. For example in Canterbury, this would be down or into the north-westerly.
  • Install anchor points along the parking space to chain irrigators down. Tie down the irrigator at each base beam and over to the main span. Take extra care to tie down corner arms.
  • Keep on top of irrigator maintenance to avoid damage and keep your workers safe.
  • Make sure anyone using your irrigator has proper training and that they have read the operating instructions thoroughly. Walk the track with the person who will be operating your irrigator before they run it for the first time.

Irrigator installation tips

  • If you’re thinking about installing irrigation, first assess your farm's requirements and suitability. Some irrigation manufacturers provide site assessments to ensure you’re getting a system that meets your needs.
  • For pivot and travelling irrigators, it’s particularly important to think about topography and wind direction. Large irrigators can become unstable on slight inclines, and knowing the direction of your prevailing winds is crucial for future prevention measures.
  • Consider what buildings or fences you may have to move to allow your irrigator to operate safely and effectively. The extra cost of removing potential hazards is money well spent.
  • Ensure all materials are installed according to manufacturer's instructions and properly tested. Take manufacturers up on installation offers to ensure your irrigator isn’t going to hit any obstacles. Where possible, have the people who will be using your irrigator present when it’s set up, so they can see first-hand how it travels and is affected by terrain.
  • Ask your installer to provide full documentation including system specifications, results of testing and commissioning, and how to operate and maintain the system.
  • Ensure the supplier covers the irrigator during installation and commissioning.

Insurance cover for irrigation systems

Talk to FMG about the cover you'll need for:

  • the physical loss of your travelling or stationary irrigator
  • pumps, switchboards and other machinery that operate your travelling irrigator.
Order an irrigator sticker
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