Founder  John Cressy

 Handling & Storage


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Assurance schemes require the protection of human and animal health at all stages of the food chain. As a result, Codes of Practice have been adopted by the animal feed industry covering the manufacture, storage and haulage of all types of feeds from compounds to simple feed materials, up to the point of delivery to farm.

It is important to appreciate that safety and hygiene are as important as the nutritive value of the feed. In fact, in order to protect human and animal health, auditors used by the assurance schemes may pay more attention to the safety and hygiene practices on a farm than to ration composition.

The Store

The seasonality of both the production and use of co-product feeds means that there is a need to store (i.e. to clamp) these materials for varying lengths of time prior to use. These moist feeds should be delivered to a clean area and consolidated, sheeted and weighted in order to ensure safe, hygienic and airtight storage conditions - even if the feeds are to be used immediately. After the clamp has been opened, it is important to avoid contamination of the open face.

An accessible, level and well-drained site should be used, preferably with a concrete or alternative impermeable base. Well secured, self- supporting sides should be provided together with appropriate facilities to collect any run-off.

Whilst it is recommended that the base and sides of the silo should be concrete, there may be occasions when wooden sleepers or other walling materials have to be used. In these cases, it is essential to ensure that the walls are strong and stable, and that the sides are lined with plastic sheeting. Care must be taken to make certain that all surfaces are clean.

Members of Freight

Transport Assoc.


Feed Assurance Scheme

Registration No. 407


Ensiling should be undertaken as soon as possible after delivery and handling should be minimised. Where practicable, the feed should be tipped directly into the silo or as close to the storage facility as possible. The material should be heaped and levelled using a loader until the desired height of the clamp has been reached (see diagram 1).

Effluent flow from a store of moist feed may occur and collection facilities should be provided. Alternatively a dry, absorbent feed such as sugar beet or citrus pulp could be added to restrict effluent flow.

In order to preserve the material in prime condition and to prevent any deterioration of feed quality, every effort should be made to exclude air from the clamp by consolidation and effective sheeting. Good consolidation methods include:


The use of a tractor loader bucket to build the clamp and compact it. (Weights in the bucket can help.) .


The use of small tractors or all-terrain vehicles to compact the clamped feed. This is suitable only for drier materials and where the silo walls are sufficiently strong - preferably concrete. The tractor wheels should be scrupulously cleaned before use.


Physical treading - a traditional practice that is slow and laborious, but very effective.


The incorporation of co-product feeds with grass for ensilage can make good use of storage facilities and produce an excellent feed.


Incorporation can be achieved either by layering the co-product feed and the grass or by mixing the materials before clamping. When layering, the co- product feed can be used as the bottom layer, but the overlying grass would need to be added progressively from the front of the clamp using a temporary retaining wall and a ramp of grass (see diagrams 2 and 3).

 The conservation of a mixed clamp of grass and co-product feed is a popular practice, and is suitable whether the clamp is to be self-fed or removed mechanically and fed in a trough.


It is essential to make the sides and top of the clamp both air and water-tight. Once consolidation has been achieved the clamp should be sealed immediately. Side sheets should be pulled over the top of the ensiled feed and the top sheet should overlap the sides to ensure complete coverage (see diagram 4).

Trapped surface air should be excluded by smoothing out creases in the sheet. This helps to reduce surface wastage and to restrict the ingress of air during the storage period. Wherever possible, new sheets should be used but, if sheets have to be reused, they must be thoroughly cleaned to remove any spoiled material, soil and other extraneous and potentially harmful material.

Uniform weighting of the whole top surface is essential to restrict the ingress of air or water (see diagram 5).

Heavy duty plastic sheets are both practical and durable for this purpose but they need to be supplemented by a layer of straw bales. Soil and sand have been used to weight the top sheet but there may be a risk of contamination of the ensiled feed. Tyres and pallets have been similarly employed but they are less effective in providing an even pressure and preventing aerobic spoilage. Adequate weighting of the shoulder area may be difficult and, in this area, salt may be sprinkled over the surface in an attempt to restrict the activity of spoilage micro-organisms.


When a clamp is opened for feeding every effort should be made to minimize disturbance of the stored material, and the exposed working surface should be as small as possible. However, it is impossible to prevent air from penetrating an opened clamp and, once open, the feed should be used at a rate sufficient to restrict spoilage. Redrawing a loose sheet over the exposed surface is not recommended as it may encourage spoilage micro-organisms. The area around the clamp should be swept clean and any waste material removed.

Health and Hygiene

At the end of each feeding season the silo and surrounding area should be thoroughly cleaned with a power hose. Any plastic sheets which are to be reused should be cleaned in the same way. A vermin control programme should be implemented and records should be retained of all activities. Contamination by birds and cats should be prevented by effective sheeting. Open surfaces such as self-feeding areas should be protected from above, inspected regularly and cleaned when necessary.


This information and advice is provided on this website is in good faith. No liability is accepted in respect of the use to which such information and advice might be put.

Cressy's Grains Limited

Row of Trees Garage, Knutsford Road, Alderley Edge, Cheshire SK9 7SH

Tel: 01625 583599

Fax: 01625 585733