Optimizing Silage Quality and Sustainable Farming Practices

Optimizing Silage Quality and Sustainable Farming Practices
When visiting high performing farms and AD plants the most impressive thing common to either is not always immediately obvious.

Yes, you notice the location or the tidiness of the site or the new machinery or the dairy cows. As a farmer myself my eye would always be drawn to good cows too but after a while understanding the business and those driving it, what often is the common theme is laser focus to detail across all aspects of the business.

As sites expand production there will inevitably be conflicting investment pressures as producers aim for higher production, expansion in gas production or cow numbers as well as updating for end-of-life facilities, regulation and assurance standards. Sometimes two major investments may be faced at the same time; recently legislation enforcement means dairy businesses may be looking at updating slurry and manure storage as well as silage clamp provision for example.

Considerable attention and money are commonly expended on good dairy genetics, keeping machinery up to date and growing crops yet as enterprises expand and facilities get older all too often the silage clamp can be inadvertently be relegated to one of the Cinderella assets on the farm.

Good maize, wholecrop and grass crops cost ever increasing amounts due to inputs and the vagaries of the weather, yet the ensiled clamp is the very engine room of the business.

Silostop Agri is at the centre of helping you ensile and preserve more of your crop and boost your production.

Utilising patented concrete wall systems, oxygen barrier films and protective covers with smart weighting systems, our aim is to optimise the quality of your silage crop with minimum losses and reduced overall plastics use.

Silostop Agri’s patented Ark 3m high sloping wall systems are a progression of the “Traunsteiner” silo system first adopted by German farmers many years ago. The principle is an open-ended clamp with tapered ends with walls set at a 23 degree angle supported by earth banks. The open ends and sloping walls mean the total top surface can be compacted well with a clamp tractor or loader’s wheels or tracks. This is the first step in removing air from the clamp and aid fermentation, reduce losses and maintain optimum silage quality.

Our Ark sloping panels are always sited on a patented “seating channel”; a double channel that supports the panels, provides for a smooth front kerb sealed by the ag-spec limestone free asphalt clamp floor. The rear channel along with a shaped runnel along the centreline of the asphalt clamp floor facilitates the diversion of any leachate forward to be contained in a separate tank. The earth bank design incorporates an impermeable membrane immediately below a serrated drainage pipe to carry away rainwater deemed as “clean water”.

Leachate from silage clamps can be corrosive for yard areas and structures as well as being potentially harmful should they enter water courses. The Silostop Agri drainage design contains the leachate and for AD plants this is a very potent feedstock that might otherwise be lost.

An open-ended clamp also aids feed out where different cuts and feed qualities may be accessed from either end.

Our clamp specialists are available for on-farm consultations and without obligation. Typically an enquiry would start with understanding your farm feeding requirements including provision for different crops or cuts, future proofing for expansion and for exceptional yield years. Using this as the basis for clamp calculations and design for clamp(s) to suit your requirements.

Feed out rates are calculated so that you can optimise the weekly feed out face without significant clamp losses. Similarly, our clamp specialist can advise and calculate clamp surcharges (height above the clamp wall) for safe operation, maximum storage but without significant clamp face losses.

Some customers retain the wish to have back walls on clamps and we have a sloping panel and seating channel system to suit. In all cases you would receive a design and clamp capacity calculation for review and revision.

In either case the supportive earth banks on either side of the clamps (intermediate walls or side walls) are easily mowed and maintained. They provide a safe working environment during clamp covering and uncovering.

On a recent visit to a well-run local AD plant where all materials in and out are weighed over a weighbridge, the maize silage losses utilising the ARK 3m sloping walls, Silostop Max OB film and Secure Covers was 2%.

For customers with site space constraints or preference Silostop Agri also has a vertical wall panel system predicated on self-supporting L and T-shape profiles sited on your pre-prepared site by specialist machine. These clamps are rated for level filling and for to the edge compaction by 15 tonne axle machines. The design keeps all re-enforcing well away from the vulnerable joints seen in other improvised systems that may quickly lead to catastrophic weakening by leachate.

Silostop Agri clamp specialists can also advise on the best high oxygen barrier films and covers. Many of our users also avail themselves of wall films as well.

A combination of good initial ensiling and compression and the removal of oxidation losses during storage means your valuable feedstock goes directly into profitable production and when it is required. With silage values now exceeding £70 / tonne and with the cost of all growing inputs especially fertiliser climbing massively in recent years our farmer customers return on investment is accelerating.

Secure Covers are a premium knitted protective net that lasts and is much more flexible aiding handling and settling on the clamp. In conjunction with premium gravel bags, the system is a one-stop shop for optimal clamp sealage and covering and based on years of research and user experience.

As a natural extension to the performance characteristics of knitted HDPE, Secure Covers also makes a range of high-quality Windbreaks and Econoblinds suitable for stopping wind and rain driving in to open voids on farm buildings. Windbreaks are used where the building must have open apertures during the year but need weather proofing for the most part. Econoblinds are a more practical solution for higher traffic apertures.

Don’t just take my word for it; with many satisfied customers all over the UK we would be very happy to show you one of our customer sites as a reference to visit and discuss your concerns directly with an end user.

Silostop Agri services over 40 countries worldwide with covering products. Backing up this experience Silostop Agri have regional cover specialists in the UK to assist you in your decision making backed by National clamp specialists who can assist when you are preparing for a clamp build or re-modelling.

As a Company Silostop Agri takes its responsibilities towards sustainability and the environment very seriously. Focussing on using less plastics alongside improving silage quality is our primary focus. As a company within a group, we set ourselves on-going sustainability targets towards net zero and we are supported by a Group parent company set on raising measurable sustainability targets across the entire group.