Testimonial - New silage clamps

Testimonial - New silage clamps

New silage clamps and careful pit management ennsure high quality forage

The construction of three new silage clamps and a careful pit-filling and sheeting regime have helped Jonathon Jackson to reduce maize and grass silage wastage at Longpools Farm near Hinstock in Shropshire.

Jonathon Jackson milks 230 cows on his 450 acre farm in Shropshire, where he grows 80 acres of first ley grass and 24 acres of lucerne for silage as well as 90 acres of maize silage and 80 acres of arable crops.

In 2012 he replaced one large wooden-sided silage pit with three concrete-panel clamps. “We needed to upgrade the farm’s infrastructure to enable the business to move forward, and knew that investing in new silage clamps would help us to reduce spoilage and improve the quality of our winter forage,” Jonathon explains.

“The new clamps allow us to store each cut of silage separately, and their concrete panel construction lets us roll each batch of silage much more thoroughly,” he adds.

wall film and silage

“The old pit gave us a lot of spoilage at the clamp shoulders because we couldn’t rolls the sides properly. The new clamps have got rid of that problem as we are now able to roll right up to the pit walls. The concrete panels are also more airtight than the old wooden-sided clamp which means the entire crop ferments with better consistency.”

In order to preserve the nutritional value of each cut of silage, Jonathon uses a tried and tested system to fill the clamps and seal the ensiled crops. “Any variation in silage quality will affect cow performance and milk yields,” Jonathon explains, “so we work hard to produce silage that has the same nutritional value as the day the grass or maize was harvested.

“The key for us is to roll the silage as much as possible and to seal the clamp as soon as the last trailer-load has been brought in,” he adds. “When the final trailer has been tipped we spend a couple of hours rolling the clamp with two tractors to expel any pockets of air.”

It then takes Jonathon and his team about two hours to seal each clamp properly.“The time and effort involved is nothing compared to the potential losses if the job isn’t done properly,” he remarks. “If we finish silaging late at night, we’ll tack the top sheets on in the evening and seal the pit properly the next morning, making sure we create the right environment for anaerobic fermentation to take place.”

wall film clamp

The construction of three new silage clamps and a careful pit-filling and sheeting regime have helped Jonathon Jackson to reduce maize and grass silage wastage at Longpools Farm near Hinstock in Shropshire.

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