Silage Advice

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