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COTechguy
Visitor

Pivot Damage

My family farms in central Nebraska. Several of our neighbors had pivots blown over by high winds this year.  Have others experienced damage from high winds and any ideas on how to avoid it?  

7 Replies
Senior Contributor

Re: Pivot Damage

First, if you are ordering a new pivot, keep in mind that in general, the longer the overhang, the more likely the end tower will go over.   This is especially true with the ones with a long overhang, that extends upwards when empty.   The longer the overhang, the more leverage the wind gets against the tower, and the higher the end point, the more leverage.

Second, do everything you can, to make the thing more 'aerodynamic'.   I live in Nebraska, and have seen once or twice where identical pivots, parked so they were oriented the same way, had one tip over, but not the other.   It seems the 'clean' pivot was the one that stood.   I'm meaning anything from hoses hanging off it, to that big metal sign that they put on it, so everyone knows what brand of pivot you put up.   Whilt it might not seem like a lot, the few hundred pounds of force the wind can get on that sign, might be the difference.

Lastly, think about how it is orientated.   Is there a hill it can be parked at the bottom of?   A hill can protect it greatly, especially if there is a dip at the bottom of the hill, you can park it in, so it sits lower, yet is more or less 'level'.   If all you have is flat ground without a row of trees or anything, they say it is best to park it so that the towers extend from the pivot point, towards the NorthWest.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Pivot Damage

I have no experince but was wandering if anyone ads weight to the wheels or lower part of the frame in high risk situations.
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Senior Advisor

Re: Pivot Damage

Or use twist in anchors and rope?

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Senior Contributor

Re: Pivot Damage

I guess I never thought much about that, but of all the pivots I have seen damaged by weather, I can only think of one that happened over the winter, and that was caused by ice that built up on one, until a support cable on the overhang broke, collapsing it.

The ones that are overturned by wind, all seem to be during the growing season.

FWIW, I park my pivot on level ground, and it has been exposed to 90+ MPH wind gusts, with no damage.  Most of the ones I have seen blown down, happen in winds strong enough to take out grain bins and steel sheds.

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COTechguy
Visitor

Re: Pivot Damage

Thanks for all the comments. My brother in-law sells farm insurance and I was shocked to hear how many pivots blow over in high winds. I could understand the tornado damage but wouldn't think straight winds could pick these things up and tip them over. There's just not that much area of resistance and one would think that with the wheel/tire weight and all that the center of gravity would be near the base of the towers.  Yes, it does seem that most wind damage is caused during the growing season. With that it seems impractical to position the pivot to flat ground or in to the wind to avoid trouble. 

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Senior Contributor

Re: Pivot Damage

It rarely happens on flat ground, but many pivots are on rolling hills, and some have a 50 ft or even longer overhang.   If a strong wind comes up, when the pivot is on a sidehill, or in a bad place (hills can channel winds so that in certain spots, it is much stronger than it oterwise would be) it can happen.

I've seen pivots on hills I would be scared to drive across with a combine.   Get the pivot on that sidehill, with a wind trying to blow it to the downhill side, and I really don't think in some instances, that it takes all that much.

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COTechguy
Visitor

Re: Pivot Damage

Yep, understand the hill contirubtion. Have also heard the overhang mentioned more than once as a potential cause.  Do you think some method of anchor on the end tower would reduce or eliminate the problem? 

I've run some initial calculations that indicate the amount of force a 75mph wind would produce and  based on weight of the pivot, etc., how to potentially off-set that force.   I've also heard most times the pivot is not running and empty when the wind tips them over. 

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