5 September 1997

No point in additive use

THERE is usually no justification in using additives in maize crops, as reducing aerobic spoilage depends more on consolidation, clamp width and management than additive use.

So says Midlands-based ADAS nutritionist Tim Davies. He suggests that a 9m (30ft) wide clamp will suit most farms, and that producers should consider splitting clamps that are wider.

When clamps are already full, improvise using big square bales, ideally of linseed or rapeseed straw, on concrete. But do not fill these temporary clamps above about 1.8m (6ft) high, he advises.

When using temporary clamps or clamps with porous walls line them with plastic sheets.

At harvest time, ensure the crop is chopped well enough to crack the grain and avoid bringing soil into the pit on trailer wheels, preferably by harvesting when conditions are good.

All clamps should be filled quickly, and consolidated well. "Breaking up the lumps and getting an even spread of maize in the pit and rolling with a second tractor will do more to secure a good fermentation than any additive," says Mr Davies.

But he does advise spreading 3kg/m sq (0.27kg/ft sq) of salt over the top and double that on the shoulders. Sheet the clamp over immediately and cover with tyres, ensuring that none have exposed wires which could break off and get into feed. On farms where vermin or birds have attacked maize clamps a protective net is a good investment, he adds. &#42