A UNIQUE concept in covering silage is available this spring from forage preservation specialists, Kelvin Cave Ltd.

The Silage Safe system requires no weighting on top of the clamp, dispensing with the need for tyres, gravel bags or any other weights.

Instead, the clamp is sealed by a series of straps that are tightly ratcheted into place. This makes one of the most unpopular jobs at the end of silage-making a potentially two-person operation.

The straps can also be tightened during the course of the crop’s storage, which ensures a full and even tension is achieved over the clamp. This helps avoid the creation of air spaces as the silage settles.

A further benefit of the system is its application and removal in two-metre sections. This is just as useful at the time of feed-out as it is at covering, speeding up the process and avoiding the need to move weights. Each section can then be stored on racks for use the following year.

This is the first year Silage Safe has been available in the UK for the grass silage season. However, several forage producers were early users of the system for maize silage last autumn. These include a dairy farmer in an exposed coastal location and an arable farmer in East Anglia covering maize for anaerobic digestion.

A & E G Heading Ltd covered a clamp on their Cambridgeshire farms measuring 100 by 30 metres, with a height of six metres. Farming about 6,000 acres and cutting 800 acres of maize last year, farmer, Marc Heading, said: “I was absolutely determined not to have a clamp covered in disused tyres and wanted it to be relatively easy to manage.”

The estimated 14,000 tonnes of freshweight in the clamp will be used as feedstock, together with wheat straw, for the Headings’ five-megawatt gas-to-grid anaerobic digester.

He says: “The covering system is projected to achieve payback in one to two years through a reduction in dry matter losses which could otherwise easily occur through aerobic spoilage.”

For more information, call 01458 252281 or visit www.kelvincave.com.