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Grassland & Muck

Focus on clamp construction and contents at Grassland & Muck Good-quality silage is a valuable asset. To achieve it, care and attention needs to be paid to both the clamp and the ensiling process. If biological processes in the clamp go wrong, there can be average losses of 20—25 per cent, say the organisers of this year’s Grassland and Muck. That’s why ensiling talks are going to be incorporated within the event alongside clamp demonstrations. Giving the talks will be Will Wilson (right), Bock UK business development manager, and Dr Dave Davies, who will be speaking on behalf of Volac. According to Will, clamp design is key to both the ease of ensiling and the quality of silage. Often clamps are too wide, too long and overfilled, says Will, who recommends installing sloping walls, as they improve compaction against the panel.

Clamp dimensions play an important role. Wider clamps present larger silage faces. Given that the face is the second-highest factor responsible for waste in the clamp, it should be as small as possible, and it should move back at least 2m a week, says Will. “Make sure the clamp is easily accessible to feed cattle and that it has no back wall so that it can be expanded – always bear the future in mind,” he adds. Clamps should point away from the prevailing wind. They can be above ground for ease of construction, but below-ground clamps have the advantage of trapping carbon dioxide, thereby reducing aerobic spoilage, Will points out. The ensiling process is just as vital as clamp design. Achieving the correct density in the clamp is important and requires thin layers of no more than 15cm, says Dave, the second speaker. “The target is 700kg of fresh matter per m3 which, depending on the dry matter, is approximately equivalent to 220kg of dry matter per m3.” When harvesting grass, the chop

GRASSLAND & MUCK FACTS Where: When: Time: Tickets:

Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire 24th-25th May 8.30-17.00 day one; 8.30-16.00 day two £23. Discount of £4 (£5 for students) if booked by 21st May. Half-price for RASE members.

length should be adjusted according to its dry matter. A longer chop with high dry matter won’t produce the correct density and will be too bouncy, says Dave. He recommends chopping to 1.5—2.5cm if grass has more than 30 per cent dry matter; to 2.5—5.0cm if it’s 20—30 percent dry matter; and to 10cm if it’s less than 20 per cent to prevent clamp slippage. Aerobic spoilage can cause losses of up to 25 per cent in the clamp, and most problems at feeding are the result of filling the clamp incorrectly and at the wrong density. The use of additives can protect against aerobic losses, but the choice can be confusing, Dave warns. “When choosing additives, look at the advice from AHDB and ask whether there have been independent trials to prove the benefits to livestock,”

he says. The denser the silage is filled into the clamp, the faster the oxygen is removed. But if the clamp isn’t then sealed properly, oxygen can find its way back in. Therefore, according to Dave, side sheets are absolutely essential, with an oxygen barrier film on top, followed by the standard black polythene sheets. There also needs to be enough weight on top of the sheet, to ensure the top of the silage remains dense and to reduce aerobic spoilage if the seal is damaged. According to Dave, the best way to seal the clamp is to put gravel bags all around the edge of the wall and on the ramp and front. “A lot of farmers use tyres, but they leave gaps,” he says. “Sealing the ramp is very important and many farmers don’t pay enough attention to it,” he adds. ■

complements the robust design and fine, even spread pattern associated with Teagle muck spreaders. Weigh-cell technology has been fully integrated into these models, with options including GPS communication and the latest variable-rate software. There is the option of a new electronic bed speed control system. LED lighting systems are fitted as standard. Titan 15 models start at £15,550. Stand 116.

The new Teagle 15 from Teagle Machinery.

Extra-capacity spreaders Teagle Machinery will be demonstrating the latest models of its Titan rear discharge spreaders in the arena at Grassland & Muck. The new Titan 15 and 17 extend the load capacities of this range to a little more than 20m3. These extra-large-capacity models are specifically designed for heavy use. During the past 18 months, as part of the development process, they’ve been put through their paces by large-scale operators who demand high output, reliability and the latest

technology. Both new models incorporate high-speed commercial axles with 406x140 brakes and a dual air and hydraulic combination braking system as part of their standard specification. A wide variety of hitch and tyre options ensures that not only are the specific demands of large-scale operators fulfilled, but also that critical compliance with European homologation standards is addressed within the design. The latest technology

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