You have probably read our silage-making tips many times before, if you would like a refresher check out these posts - https://www.silostop.com/blogs/news/best-practices-and-pitfalls-to-avoid-in-producing-high-quality-silage or here https://www.silostop.com/blogs/news/application-tips-for-ensiling
So, to take a different approach in this blog post we are going to explore some of the more unusual tips and tricks that will improve your silage quality and you and your teams safety and efficiency.
Tip 1 Have a clamp cover design
Covering a silage clamp isn’t always easy, but having a cover design for your clamps will simplify the whole process.
A cover design is a simple diagram which shows the footprint of the clamp or bunker with the sheet sizes you intend to use as well as any netting and gravel bags and their placement on top of the clamp.
A good cover design will help you choose the right roll sizes to order and can be shared with anyone helping you cover the clamps making the whole process more efficient.
Remember to allow for the fill height of the clamp in your design (typically this would normally mean a sheet 10% longer/wider than the dimensions of the clamp) and to allow 1m for overlaps where sheets join.
Call Silostop Agri and we will produce these designs for you!
Tip 2 Order your sheets early
If you have a cover design, you will already know what sheet sizes you will need.
It is easy to forget to order sheets or be caught out by an early harvest so why not place your order a couple of months in advance? Silage sheets have a long shelf life and there could be some room for negotiation out of season with your supplier.
Tip 3 Understand the weight and handling of silage sheets
As well as helping with the ordering and covering process a good cover design will also allow you to consider the way you handle sheets when you are putting them on the clamp.
Large rolls are great as they have fewer overlaps on the clamp, but they can weigh a lot more than a person can carry, so you may decide to use a smaller roll or have machinery on hard to lift them onto the clamp.
Tip 4 Mobile lighting
Silage clamps are normally filled during fine weather and longer days in the summer, but in some instances (especially in the UK with a later maize harvest), you may be working on the clamps well into the night.
We all know that an essential part of good silage is covering the clamps as quickly as possible once they are filled this can also mean working on the clamps in the dark.
Working in the dark increases the risk of trips falls and contact between people and machinery.
A simple solution is to light the clamps with stadium-style lighting and where this isn’t practical mobile lighting solutions might be the answer.
Tip 5 Halfpipes to hold up wall sheets
Sidewall sheets are a must on any clamp walls, Silostop Agri supplies sidewall sheets in the right sizes for this purpose. Hanging the sheets on the walls can be a challenge, so why not try this top tip using sections of pipe cut down one side and clipped over the wall to hold the sheets in place?
Tip 6 inform your neighbours
Long days, late working and lots of machinery movements can cause friction in the local community.
You may want to inform your neighbours before you begin silage-making about your intended movements around the farm and local roads.
It can be a great opportunity to explain why these are necessary, heading off any complaints.
Facebook can be a great tool for posting this info on local community groups.
Tip 7 have an address and ‘W3W’ reference
When a contractor arrives to fill your silage clamps their staff may be new to your farm and the area.
If there is an accident it is important that emergency services can be directed to the right place.
A simple app like ‘What Three Words’ (W3W) can quickly direct ambulance crews to exact locations anywhere in the world.
When they are working in the farmyard it is a good idea to have your address and postcode clearly sign-posted.Other things that might be considered are printed maps for contractors of routes between the farm and the field and field maps showing any obstacles like powerlines or manhole covers so contractors can avoid them.