tractor with a drag line hose in the field
April 22, 2021

Best Practices For Moving Dragline Hose

The main goal of moving hose in a dragline operation is to help keep the flow meter running and ensure each pass the applicator makes is consistent. In order to make that happen, it comes down to the person moving the hose to be proactive in the way they do their job. To help shed some light on this topic, Puck's application experts will detail some of the best practices for moving dragline hose.

Role of The Hose Mover

In a person's role as a hose mover, they're responsible for laying the hose, placing the booster pumps, hose moving, monitoring the line, shooting pigs (clearing the line), and rolling up the hose. This is a significant role, and it's critical that everything goes smoothly so other team members can apply nutrients with efficiency. This person plays a major part in making sure everything is ready in advance, reducing downtime while the flow meter is not running, and increasing crew efficiencies. Let's dive into the critical hose-moving aspects of this person's responsibilities and best practices for the job. 

Laying Out Sets

Having the correct hose placement establishes the tone for the operation. When arriving at a field, evaluate any obstacles or areas that might hinder the transportation of liquid nutrients through the pipeline, such as terraces, standpipes, terrain, culverts, creeks, roads, etc. After assessing potential obstacles, it is time to lay out the hose. The mainline hose should have slack left by each coupler or mender since most hose issues occur in these areas.

Be proactive and have the sets laid out. The applicators move from corner to corner of the field. So set out the hose beginning from the farthest corner and work your way back to the pumping site. The max pull is 60 acres diagonal, or 2600 feet so make sure to have enough line available to accommodate that distance. The number one rule of drag lining is to make sure there is enough hose in the field to complete the entire run. 

Hose Moving 

Once the hose line is laid out and ready to go, the hose mover's next duty is to help the applicator reduce stress on the line as they make each pass in their section and maneuver to the next section to repeat the process. The most efficient tool for that job is called a hose mover, making it easier and more efficient to position the hose where it needs to be. 

As the hose slides across the field during the passes, it rolls if not properly charged. If it twists too much, the hose can burst. Hose failures have a smaller likelihood of occurring when hose movers are proactive in making sure the hoses have enough slack and that the lines maintain an "S" curve when the applicator turns to make a new pass. Always watch the applicator's swing pipe and communicate with them on when to use the hose mover tool. 

When using a hose mover implement to move a line, follow these steps:

  1. Lower the mover towards the ground and slowly back up to the hose, leaving enough distance between the ground and the bottom of the mover to go over the top of the hose without making contact.
  2. Once the back portion of the hose mover (the side closest to the tractor) is on the other side of the hose, slowly lower the mover to the ground.
  3. Ease forward with the tractor while picking up the hose and begin pulling to accommodate the applicator's needs for the hose. 

Never run couplers or menders through the hose mover wheel. You could damage those components. Be sure to back off of the hose when couplers and menders draw near.

Checking the Lines

Throughout the moving process, keep an eye on the hose. When checking the lines, look for anything that would potentially reduce the flow or result in a build-up of pressure in the line. Triggers for this include any kinks or pinch points caused by hose placement, objects, or other external factors. You can fix minor kinks with a hand mover. For larger kinks, use a hose mover and a tractor. Under no circumstances should an operator ever use their hands to move a kinked or pinched hose; the hoses themselves can move unpredictably and lead to potential injuries.

Rolling Up the Hose 

When rolling up the hose, there is always the potential of damaging the line and couplers if proper care is not taken. Always start and stop hydraulics while the tractor is in the idle position to reduce risks to hydraulic motors of the hose cart. Roll hose over the top of the cart at a comfortable speed to full throttle. It is easiest to jack-knife your tractor and watch hose out your side window. 

One of the most important things to remember for this task is that you can only pull the hose if it's straight in line with the hose cart or hose reel. This helps make sure the hose spools correctly on the hose cart or hose reel. Be very careful when rolling up couplers–as mentioned before–they can be damaged if not handled properly. The best practice for rolling up hose sections with couplers/menders is to back into them rather than pull them towards you. This puts less stress on the couplers/menders and hoses when they have enough slack.

Have Hose Repair Equipment On-Site

While not directly related to moving hoses, operators should always be prepared for the worst and have the necessary tools to repair their hoses. So, what tools are essential to have? It's always a good practice to have the following on-site:

  • Hard mender (that is the size of the hose)
  • A knife (for cutting hose)
  • Tee-handle wrench or impact driver with a socket (5/16" for hoses generally, 3/8" for 10" hose)
  • It is also a good practice to have extra clamps, o-rings, sleeves, and bolts

For technical support regarding the topic covered in this article or other liquid transfer questions, the Puck team is here for you with trained specialists at the ready. Contact Puck's technical support by calling 712.481.9097 or submit a request online