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Pivot “Anchor” Prevents Costly Roll-Overs
Pivot Guard from Big John Manufacturing can help keep center pivots from rolling over in high winds. It drills an auger bit 4 ft. into the ground (deeper in sandy soils) to help hold a center pivot in place in winds up to 100 mph.
  “Depending on soil type, each 1 3/4-in. auger provides 6,000 to 8,000 lbs. of down pressure on the center pivot towers,” explains Jim Frager, Pivot Guard inventor and patent holder. “In our research we found this to be the optimal size auger. Larger ones actually disrupt soil retention.”
  Frager came up with the design after Nebraska farmers lost 750 center pivots from high winds in 2014. He notes that pivot manufacturers aren’t enthusiastic about the Pivot Guard as about 20 percent of their income is from repairing and restoring damaged center pivots. Insurance companies are taking a different view.
  Frager cites one Lincoln, Neb., insurance company that paid out more than $59 million in damages in one year. As a result of increased claims, deductibles may be raised.
  Having Pivot Guards in place could change that. He says some insurance companies are considering offering discounts on policies and reduced deductibles for systems with his devices in place.
  In addition, operators have to consider lost yield if a pivot fails mid-season. “We are still evaluating the price, but we expect it will be from $8,000 to $10,000 per center pivot, depending on length,” says Frager. “Saving the deductible plus yield could more than pay for installation.”
  Currently the augers need to be activated manually. However, remote control via cell phone or other wireless device is in development. It will work through a module that will interact with a pivot’s existing electronic control system.
  “If the operator gets a wind alert call, they will be able to shut down the center pivot and lower the augers into the ground,” says Frager. “Once winds pass, the augers are withdrawn, and the pivot is restarted.” He notes that prior to installation, fields have to be evaluated and mapped for buried utilities or water lines. A remote app would include a map of the field showing the pivot’s location and any buried lines. Augers would only be lowered once the pivot had reached a safe area of the field.
  The units are easy to install. They weigh less than 100 lbs. and can be put on in less than 30 min. One unit is recommended for each tower.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Big John Manufacturing Company, Inc., P.O. Box 456, Osmond, Neb. 68765 (ph 402 748-3860; toll free 800 658-4471; www.bigjohnmfg.com).

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2016 - Volume #40, Issue #4