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Jun 23, 2020

It’s time to retire your tyres

Jun 23, 2020

This summer’s terrible bushfire season is a poignant reminder that perhaps it’s time for livestock producers and silage makers to reconsider the use of used car tyres to weigh down silage stacks.

Lallemand Animal Nutrition Technical Services Manager, David Lewis, estimates there are millions of used tyres on Australian farms. “Used car tyres have been used to anchor covers on silage stacks and grain bunkers for decades but there are easier and more environmentally-friendly options available,” he says.

“State Environment Protection Authorities are discouraging the use of tyres as tree guards, safety barriers or erosion control, primarily as a means of reducing the risk of fires. Tyres can also become breeding sites for snakes, vermin, insect and even mosquitoes.

“If you have more than 5000 tyres on your property and don’t have an appropiate licence, you could face a significant fine, plus the considerable cost of disposing of them. Quite aside from the cost, 5000 tyres represents nearly 40 tonnes of potential fuel.”

David says gravel bags provide a cost-effective alternative to tyres for covering and sealing silage bunkers. “Effective sealing with SealKeeper Gravel Bags saves time and money by preserving more nutrients in the silage, reducing dry matter losses and maintaining the quality of the feed,” he says.

“And they work so much better than tyres when it comes to sealing.”

Covering and sealing checklist:

  1. Cover as soon the entire pit / stack is compacted with plastic. This helps create the anaerobic environment required for the production of quality silage.
  2. Don’t skimp on plastic – use a quality plastic film with proven oxygen barrier properties. The extra expense will be returned several times over via improved DM recovery and silage quality.
  3. Joining plastic sheets – overlap the seams of two sheets of plastic by at least 1 – 1.5m on joins. Ensure there is sufficient weight along the edges to keep the plastic in place and prevent air infiltration.
  4. Inspect silage covers regularly for tears or damage and repair immediately. Any tears or holes will allow oxygen into the silage pile and reduce the effectiveness of the covering.
  5. For maximum protection, cover with SilageKeeper UV Protection Covers weighted with SealKeeper Gravel Bags.