Whether feeding fresh or ensiling during the
summer months, it’s important to follow these key steps to minimise any wastage and
maintain the products nutritional value. 1. Select the right storage site
The selected storage site should be clean with a firm level surface, preferably concrete
as it makes handling and feeding out easier For minimal wastage, moist feeds should ideally
be stored in a three-walled pit as this structure is easier to manage. A long narrow clamp is
best, as it allows the farmer to work across the feeding face quicker and therefore reduce
the time the product is exposed to air. Depending on the product, there may be a small
amount of run off. Therefore, the selected storage site should not be located near drains
or open water courses. 2. Allow the feed to cool down
Moist feeds are delivered straight from the point of production and can be hot on arrival.
It is best to let the load cool down for 6-12 hours prior to ensiling.
3. Ensure an airtight seal To preserve the feed, correct compaction,
covering and sealing is important. Firstly, exclude all air through compaction
in order to ensure close contact between the top layer of the feed and the pit cover. To
reduce trapped air, the pit surface should be levelled using the underside of the loading
bucket. Once compaction is complete seal the pit with
high quality polytene sheets. This should then be sealed with mats, truck tires or sandbags
to provide an even airtight seal throughout the entire pit. Lighter car tyres or pallets
should be avoided as they may not provide a sufficient seal, which can result in wastage.