/images/TDUpdate2.gif/images/southwire_100x70.jpgSureSeal® Protects Agricultural Irrigation - 2009SureSealAggriculture.htmChewing gophers can be a serious threat to agricultural irrigation power. SureSeal keeps current flowing.
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SureSeal® Protects Agricultural Irrigation - 2009

Chewing gophers can be a serious threat to agricultural irrigation power. SureSeal® keeps current flowing. 


Farm crops need water. That's the fundamental of agricultural irrigation. One method of distributing critical water is large moving sprinkler systems called "pivots." Today, electric motors are rapidly replacing diesel power for pivot irrigation. SureSeal® 600V UD cable from Southwire is protecting electrical service to these motors.

"Electric pivot motors are powered by buried 600V UD three-phase service. A typical installation is a 1,500 foot (460 meters) run of four-conductor, quadruplexed aluminum cable ranging in size from #4 awg to 500 kcmil cable," says Michael Tribble, Southwire Underground Protective Products Manager. "The problem is that a combination of factors can make those buried cables susceptible to damage, ranging from installation to gnawing gophers."

Gopher damage can be expensive
To begin with, gophers come looking for the water from the irrigation. Then, they seem to prefer the looser dirt in the cable trench because it's easier digging. Finally, there's the fact that gophers need to gnaw on things to keep their continually growing teeth worn down.

With ordinary underground service cables, the insulation is fair game for gnawing gophers. When the rodents work down to the conductor, they start to feel voltage and stop chewing, but the damage is done. Ground water can enter the cable and start a corrosion process that can destroy the conductor.

SureSeal® sealant stops moisture-based corrosion
SureSeal® cables are designed with six channels of a unique visco-elastic sealant just below the surface within the insulation. The sealant flows to block moisture from small insulation breaks, such as gopher damage. The sealant also discourages gophers. When nibbling gophers get the gummy sealant in their teeth, they stop chewing. Then the sealant seals the damage. No more chewing and no conductor damage.

PVC conduit and cable-in-conduit are alternative ways to protect cables, but both add significantly to costs, and have their own drawbacks. Russell Stevenson, product manager for Alabama-based Irrigation Components International says, "If you get an insulation pinhole from a lightning strike, the condensation in the conduit can still cause cable failure. SureSeal® protects against that, also." And unless the conduit is too big to fit between their teeth, the gophers can destroy it as well.

SureSeal® blocks gophers, saves money
SureSeal's® patented self-sealing design is the single most important element in preventing cable failures from gopher damage. The sealant not only seals off the damage, it serves as a repellant that deters gophers from chewing.

SureSeal® can increase both direct-buried 600V UD reliability and customer satisfaction with reduced outages. SureSeal® can also reduce overall system costs with savings on labor time and materials required to replace damaged cable Tribble says, "SureSeal® protection for irrigation power is readily available. SureSeal® cables in many sizes are available for immediate shipment from Southwire's Master Service Centers."