Farmers are being urged to assess their silage clamps before this year’s maize harvest to ensure they are sound, safe to use and compliant with UK regulations.
This is the message from William Wilson, Business Development Director from sloping walled silage clamp supplier ARK Agriculture.
‘Our recent research into the silage clamp market in the UK carried out by Cambridge University, showed that 70% of silage clamps are more than 40 years old,’ says Mr Wilson, ‘the clamp will likely be the oldest, unchanged item on your farm’.
‘Is your silage clamp truly fit for purpose? We are seeing more and more clamps filled far too high, overloading walls, leaking, and putting operators safety at risk - rarely in this environment can good quality silage be achieved’.
Regulations and Pollution
Silage leachate is a by-product of silage making and is extremely corrosive. It can be highly polluting leading to legal action by the environment agency if it not contained and treated safely.
‘Silage leachate has a similar risk profile to raw sewage and can cause the same damage to the environment if absorbed into groundwater.’ Says Mr Wilson.
The current regulations on the design of new silage clamps is the SSAFO regs which can easily be found online. Although these regulations apply to clamps after 1990, older clamps which pollute will still fall foul of the EA.
‘At the end of the day if you are doing something on the farm which causes a pollution incident, regardless of how it happens, you are liable – so it’s worth reading and understanding the rules as they contain some handy well thought out advice’ .