What is a Silage Pit?

What is a Silage Pit?

Concrete construction solutions can often provide benefits for more than one kind of situation. From people who work in construction, to those who own their own farms! Especially if they have a silage pit.

In this blog, we will answer the question ‘What is a silage pit?’

At PPC Concrete Products, we are here to provide solutions for your construction needs, from the person working on their part-time project to commercial clients, and everyone in between.

Monthly construction output had risen an estimated 1.6% value in June 2023, and we would like to think our accessible concrete products had a small part to play by giving our clients easy access to reliable and easy-to-use construction solutions.

Are silage pits legal?

Are silage pits legal?

Yes. Silage pits are legal, as long as they follow the compliance set out by the environment agency, under the ‘Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil’ (SSAFO) regulations. The regulations set out by the agency aim to minimise the environmental impact of silage pits and its effects on farms, where they are located.

Regarding the SSAFO regulations, they only apply to new silage pits, or those that have a substantial alteration, constructed after March 1991.

Here are a number of key requirements that silage pits must abide by.

  • The location of a silage pit should be away from rivers, streams or other watercourses and protected water sources. This helps to prevent any possible contamination as a result of leakage.

Contamination of a water source can severely impact the environment and those in the vicinity.

  • Silage pits require a thorough drainage system to collect effluent liquids. These are liquids that are produced during the fermentation that takes place in a silage pit. Effluent must be stored in a specially made tank with a large capacity that prevents any chance of overflowing.
  • Regarding the construction of a silage pit, it must have an impermeable base and walls that will safely keep the silage pit airtight and able to support the weight of the forage/feed inside. This means using a material such as concrete, asphalt, or a pre-approved plastic sheeting.
  • Construction of a silage pit requires a minimum of 14 days notice given to the environment agency before beginning the creation of the pit.
  • If your farm is within a Nitrate vulnerable zone, also known as a NVZ, you may face stricter regulation regarding effluent storage.

Who can build a silage pit?

Farmers are responsible for their silage pits, whether they construct it themselves, or organise a team to construct it. Either way, the silage pit must abide by the relevant regulations. An improperly constructed silage pit not only poses a risk to the farmers’ livelihood, but also the health and safety of their livestock, workers, and themselves.

What happens if my silage pit is illegal?

If a silage pit is found to be in breach of the SSAFO regulations, there are a number of possibilities that can occur which can include penalties, prosecution, and/or demolition of the pit. It depends entirely on the issue at hand and its severity.

What is a silage pit?

What is a silage pit?

A silage pit is a crucial structure for any farm. It is primarily built for the storage and preservation of forage crops, like animal feed or grass. As a result of this large container, it enables the fermentation process to begin, which eventually creates silage.

The fermentation process provided by the pit helps to preserve nutrients within the crops, allowing them to be a source of high fibre feed, also known as roughage, for livestock.

Simply put, a silage pit is an effective method of storing animal feed in large amounts, which can be incredibly beneficial during seasons in which fresh forage is not as readily available as normal.

Silage pits can either be above or below ground. Its contents are compacted tightly. This helps to exclude oxygen, encouraging the fermentation process, because of this they are sealed airtight. They also incorporate draining channels in order to release fluids created as a result of the fermentation process. Part of managing a silage pit requires diligent management to prevent contamination.

How do you protect a silage pit?

Silage pits can be dangerous if left unattended. So it is safe to say that safety precautions must be taken into extreme consideration. Aside from having the right drainage, and airtight capabilities, it also means preventing unauthorised access from people and animals alike. But what is an effective method of doing this?

Concrete barriers can be an excellent and effective option in order to protect a silage pit. The reason concrete barriers are so effective is that the immense weight of a concrete barrier, especially when interlocked, can prevent entry from animals and people, and their vehicles alike.

Interlocking Concrete Blocks are also an effective method in protecting a silage pit. Like our concrete barriers, they can be interlocked, however, Interlocking Concrete Blocks can also be stacked, providing a taller kind of barrier if required.

Is it better to use a fence for a silage pit?

A fence may be an acceptable option to protect a silage pit. However, you must consider the fact that animals and people have the potential to jump over, or climb through certain fences. Even though a fence is a relatively cheaper option, there is more chance of the fence being damaged by the farm animals, or even changes in the ground beneath it.

Using a concrete barrier or an Interlocking Concrete Block would be the better options in terms of all around protection. These options are also weatherproof and extremely durable.

Can I use Interlocking Concrete Blocks to make a silage pit?

Which grade of concrete is the most waterproof?

No. Interlocking Concrete Blocks are applicable for a variety of structures, but silage pits are not one of them. Interlocking Concrete Blocks do not require binding materials in order to create a lasting hold, they connect via studs and recesses at the top and bottom of the block respectively.

The reason this isn’t helpful for a silage pit is because they require an airtight connection. Although Interlocking Concrete Blocks are tightly connected, they are not airtight.

That being said, as a form of protection surrounding a constructed silage pit, Interlocking Concrete Blocks are more than helpful to fulfil this job. Because they don’t require binding materials to connect, and in most cases, the floor it will rest on does not need treatment, it can sometimes be a much cheaper option than other protective methods.

Can I use concrete to make a silage pit?

Yes. Although Interlocking Concrete Blocks aren’t right for a silage pit, using concrete itself is a great option. With concrete, you can create a long-lasting base and walls for your silage pit. Concrete’s natural durability ensures that there will be no leaks, as long as the concrete is made and allowed to set properly.

Furthermore, concrete can handle the weather of the silage and can be made to be airtight.

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 is a silage pit?’ 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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Tel: 01706 655245

Email: info@ppcconcreteproducts.co.uk

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