What Are The Different Types of Silage Pits

What Are The Different Types of Silage Pits

Silage pits are crucial for farmers, especially those with a substantial amount of livestock. But are silage pits just one kind of structure? Or are there variations on this structure that may have specific benefits?

In this blog, we will answer the question ‘What are the different types of silage pits?’

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Silage pits explained

Silage pits explained

Silage pits are almost exclusively found in farms. They are made to facilitate the feeding of livestock with nutrient rich food. In essence, a silage pit is a storage/preservation facility for forage crops.

In order for the livestock to have access to a nutrient rich feed, the silage pit enables a fermentation process which ensures the feed has its nutrients preserved. The results in a high-fibre feed, otherwise known as roughage.

Additionally, because a silage pit helps to preserve the feed for the livestock, it can be crucial in times when there is not enough yield to feed livestock. It can serve as a helpful storage facility.

What happens if I don’t have a silage pit?

Without a silage pit, a farmer will struggle to provide high quality feed for their livestock all year round. As it is difficult for livestock to graze for fresh forage all year round, due to weather and other issues. But this is only the start…

  • Lower feed quality: Because of the fermentation process enabled by the silage pit, livestock has access to nutrient rich feed. If a silage pit is not available, livestock can still be fed, but the nutrient quality they will be ingesting is far less.
  • Spoilage: Without the controlled fermentation process provided by a silage pit, waste management can become much more tedious. In some cases, if there is any forage that has been spoiled, it must be discarded safely and quickly. This can be an issue as it is essentially a wasted resource.
  • Buying feed: Of course, without a silage pit, you would have to buy additional feed, especially in times when foraging becomes difficult for the livestock, like in winter for example. The cost of buying feed adds up overtime. Whereas a silage pit allows you to collect and maintain the feed.

What are the different types of silage pits?

What is a Silage Pit?

Generally, there are two different kinds of silage pits, these are an ‘above ground clamp’ or a ‘below ground bunker’.

Above ground clamps are the most common version of a silage pit. Simply put, it is like a giant box made of either concrete or asphalt. It is made to have an impermeable wall and base in order to keep the silage contained. This type of silage pits allows farmers to easily drive on top of the pit to easily compact the silage, as well as fill it up.

Below ground bunkers, as the name suggests, are large pits that are dug into the ground. Although this version is less common, they still must be lined with an airtight and durable material such as asphalt, certain plastic sheeting or concrete.

This version of silage pit provides more of a ‘low profile’ aesthetic, and can be helpful in organising space on farmland. However, this kind of silage pit requires additional reinforcement, not only to ensure its contents can be contained in its walls, but that it also has the strength to hold against the ground surrounding it.

Which type of silage pit is the best?

This is determined by the space you have available, the machinery you have access to, whether your space is an NVZ (Nitrate Vulnerable Zone) and the amount of livestock you have to feed.

Whereas a below ground bunker can be effective for space, it requires much more support in order to stay stable. Additionally, it can be difficult for machinery to fill the pit, depending on the situation.

Above ground clamps are the most common, considering they do not require the same amount of stability ensuring that its counterpart needs. Furthermore, machinery can fill this kind of silage pit in the most easy way.

So with these key factors in mind, above ground clamps are generally seen as the preferred type of silage pits.

Do silage pits need protection?

Yes. It would be fair to argue that silage pits need some level of protection surrounding them. Whether it be from intruders, unauthorised vehicles or livestock, Silage pits should not have any unexpected visitors, as one wrong move could compromise the whole structure, regardless of how durable its walls are. It is not worth the risk.

Using a barrier or block made of concrete would be the most logical method in achieving a satisfactory level of protection. Concrete barriers can prevent vehicles and certain livestock from entering, whilst creating a perimeter that can allow for one entry space for your machinery to the silage pit.

Interlocking Concrete Blocks can also provide a similar level of protection as a concrete barrier, however, Interlocking Concrete Blocks have the ability to be stacked, making them even more of a full-proof protection option.

Both options are extremely heavy, meaning it will take heavy lifting machinery to move them, this is only reinforced once they are interlocked, which is achievable with either the barrier or the block. (They can’t connect with each other, only their respective block/barrier).

Is concrete a good material for a silage pit?

What is a silage pit?

Yes. Concrete can be a brilliant material for a silage pit in most cases. Regardless of the type of silage pit you opt to use. However, as with any option, there are pros and cons. We will list them below.

Pros:

  • Concrete is durable, it has the potential to last for decades, and has the capability to withstand various levels of impact.
  • Due to its tight chemical bonds, concrete has an excellent level of impermeability, this is helpful for silage pits, as they require an effective barrier against leaking.
  • Aside from being durable, concrete is also strong in nature. It can handle the collective weight of silage with little to no problem.
  • Concrete is generally weatherproof and fire-resistant, making it extremely effective for outdoor structures.

Cons:

  • Compared to other materials, concrete can be a more expensive option to install and go with.
  • If the preparation of concrete isn’t handled correctly, you can end up with a weak structure, or one that is compromised in one area more than another.
  • Concrete has a rough surface, meaning at times it can be difficult to clean thoroughly, which can have an impact on the quality of the silage.

Protect your silage pit today

As an established supplier all over the UK, PPC Concrete Products is always happy to help, which is why we encourage you to get in touch with any questions you may have or have a look at our FAQ.

In this blog, we hope to have answered the question ‘What are the different types of silage pits?’ whilst also providing extra information in regard to construction solutions that we offer.

Take a read of our case studies to truly understand how we have provided solutions for business in the past with the use of our interlocking concrete blocks, and ultimately, how we can help you today.

Read our blog page for more insights into our passion, construction.

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Email: info@ppcconcreteproducts.co.uk

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