Precast concrete silage clamps are often a very important part of a farm’s infrastructure. Precast concrete is often considered to be better than using metal alternatives due to its strength. The loading on clamp walls can be very uneven during the loading and compacting process, and this can result in the uprights twisting and causing stress fractures in the horizontal sections. The massive pressures that can be placed on the walls means it is very important to get an experienced firm as well as having a structural engineer sign it off.
There are a number of different concrete products that can be used; the most common is concrete panels, but there are alternative concrete retaining wall units that can be used. Concrete panels can be used either horizontally (with steel supports) or vertically where they are cast into the ground.
Installation will vary depending on the product you are using. To provide the correct drainage a 300mm fall is created from back to front as well as a 400mm fall from the centre line to the clamps sides.
Concrete needs to be properly compacted and left to cure for at least 28 days, driving vehicles on the concrete before it is cured is the main cause of the concrete failing and cracking.
To limit the corrosive effects of silage on the concrete, the concrete panels are painted with a protective coating which helps to provide an element of protection. This will give some protection however there is not a lot that can be done to limit the long-term effects of silage on concrete.