6 December 1996

Tips to keep down clamp spoilage

MINIMISE spoilage in silage clamps by ensuring clamp faces are kept tidy and sheets are not taken too far back.

That advice comes from David Roberts, manager at the SACs Crichton Royal Farm, near Dumfries. Depending on silage quality and stability, spoilage can run to about 10%, although theres a lot of variation, he says.

"Use a block cutter where possible which will give a clean face finish, reducing the likelihood of spoilage. Where loaders are being used, the same advice applies."

Dr Roberts also advises that silage be taken from right across the clamp. "Theres a temptation to take it from the middle because it is easier." Also avoid taking the sheet too far back, and the face of outdoor clamps should be re-covered after use to reduce spoilage.

"Its also useful to gauge intake by putting a chalk mark on the clamp wall each week. That way, you can tell how quickly you are going through the clamp."

If youre likely to run out of silage, its best to be aware of it now."