Clamping grass silage
Why is clamping silage so important?
Clamp management is one of the most important aspects of the silage-making process. So it is well worthwhile putting in extra effort into this – which means minimising microbial contamination in the clamp, good consolidation, and effective sealing. The general principles are:
- Prepare clean clamps before harvest
- Line silo walls
- Fill fast in thin layers – max 15cm (6 inches) deep
- Compact well
- Do not overfill
- Seal quickly
- Weight top sheet well
- When filling, sheet overnight or if bad weather stops harvest
How should a grass silage clamp be prepared?
Preparing the clamp properly ready for harvest is a key foundation for successful conservation – both to remove sources of contamination from bacteria, moulds and yeasts, and to ensure the clamp can be made airtight.
- Clean out any old silage, pressure washing if necessary
- Repair the clamp walls and base, sealing any cracks properly. Remember, heavy machinery running close to the sides exert enormous pressure on clamp walls
- Remove nails and any other uneven protrusions from walls that could puncture side sheets
- Cover any rough areas of the walls with bags to prevent damage to sheeting
- Line clamp walls with polythene side sheets to control air ingress – allowing enough for a minimum 2 metre overlap with the top sheet and to reach all the way to the clamp floor
- Ensure effluent channels are not blocked