Savannah Valley District

“The Thunder Rolls and the Lightning Strikes”

Charles W. Davis Jr., County Extension Agent – Agronomy

“The thunder rolls and the lightning strikes” are not just catchy words to a famous Garth Brooks song. They are words that should remind all farmers who use center-pivot irrigation systems of the potential for danger, harm, and even death. Summer thunderstorms in the South are often daily and can bring hundreds of lighting strikes. Metal irrigation systems stretch hundreds of feet across fields and can act as massive lightning rods. Most of the time, when lightning strikes these metal structures, the strike is safely escorted into the ground by ground rods designed to protect the irrigation system from destruction from lightning. Occasionally these safeguards fail, resulting in the potential for harm or even death for the next person who comes in contact with the irrigation system. Clemson Extension reminds farmers of the potential dangers lightning poses to irrigation systems. It is launching a campaign to urge farmers to always “Test Before You Touch” any part of their irrigation system. Clemson recommends all farmers use contactless volt meters to check their electrical panels before touching them, particularly after thunderstorms. For more information, please see the following news release: For more information visit the website.

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