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Thorough clamp consolidation is a vital step in making good silage.

But it is also a step where the attention to detail needed to achieve it is often underestimated, says leading forage preservation and animal nutrition company, Volac, who is a partner of this year’s ScotGrass event (15 May 2019, SRUC Crichton Royal Farm, Glencaple Road, Dumfries).

Accordingly, Volac will be running a practical competition on its stand to identify the correct weight of machinery needed for effective clamp consolidation.

Also on the stand will be a model demonstration of ideal clamp sheeting and sealing techniques.

“Effective consolidation, sheeting and sealing to ensure airtight conditions are key steps that underpin silage-making,” says Volac product manager, Jackie Bradley, “but they are also easy steps to get wrong.

“An air-free clamp not only provides the conditions for an efficient fermentation – the pickling process that preserves the forage’s dry matter and nutrients – it also helps to reduce silage heating. The latter is caused by yeasts and moulds feeding on the silage in the presence of air.

“Last summer’s drought and forage shortage underlined just how important it is to minimise dry matter and feed value losses.

“Unfortunately, heating losses can be a particular problem in clamps that are opened in the warm summer months, but many farmers had to do this last season simply because of a lack of grazing.”

As well as techniques for managing the clamp, Volac’s Ecosyl silage experts will also be on hand to offer advice on other stages of best practice silage-making and utilisation – including cutting, wilting, harvesting, treating and feeding.

Customers are also being invited on to the stand to join Volac for some cream tea.

Farmers wanting further tips on silage-making can find out more at Volac’s Cut to Clamp website: