Getting the perfect silage with reduced DM losses, little to no loss in the top 1mt and keeping it nutritious is what Silostop can help you with, but in order for it to work, you need to have a well maintained clamp. Our colleagues at ARK have put together the following list with the top 10 tips for maintaining your silage clamps:
1. As soon as the clamp is emptied clean it thoroughly (if you are using a pressure washer be careful not to damage the concrete surface) on a dry relatively clean clamp sweeping is better.
2. Inspect the panels, look for cracks and wear and if any of the panels are moving (take photos to record current condition to compare year on year and to send to manufacturers if you have concerns). Do not forget to walk around the outside of the clamps as well!
3. Inspect the base, on concrete bases expansion joints are high risk areas for leaks; as are the joints in the corners between the walls and the base.
4. Clean the drains from the clamps, check they run by following the flow of the drain to the outfall pipe /leachate tank.
5. One you have inspected the clamps identify if any remedial work needs doing and contact your concrete provider or Bock UK (this is where the photos are helpful) for their advice.
6. Paint concrete wall panels and repaint them every 3 – 4 years. Seal any joints in the base or walls -which may leak- every year.
7. If your concrete base is failing consider asphalting on the pad – use only silage clamp specific Hot rolled asphalt e.g Breedon Agricultural HRA. Talk to a specialist!
8. Fence off the empty clamps to stop the temptation to store machinery that may leak oil or damage the base – Empty clamps are dangerous and should not be accessed by anyone until they are being filled.
9. You may want to remind yourself of the Environment Agency SSAFO regulations which are the national requirements all clamps must meet (available on line) to ensure your clamps are compliant.
10. When you fill the clamps always use sidewall films on the walls with a large overlap onto the silage and a large overlap under the silage, this protects the walls from leachate and creates a better air tight seal on the corners.
Make sure your clamp is ready to be filled and prevent some of the damage by using wall film. Remember a strong well maintained clamp has a life of 10-15 years, so take care of it and get more silage, better silage using less plastic.