Types of silo

A silo is an enclosure in which plant material is ensiled and should be free from air as much as possible. There are several types of silos:

Clamp or hip silo

A greater proportion of ensiled material is above the ground. This is a long and narrow silo adopted in areas where it is difficult to dig to greater depth because of shallow water table. The width of the silo should be such that it is easy to drive a tractor during the compression or compaction process. The clamp or hip silo has large surface area and controlling air flow into the ensiled material is usually difficult. Most exposed parts are wasted because they form poor quality silage.

Trench silo

This is the most popular amongst farmers. Most of the ensiled material settles in areas underneath the soil surface and control of air flow is easy. Trench silos are usually large and narrow. The silo should be sited in an area where the surface water is easy to drain i.e. on a sloppy area.

Pit silo

A pit is dug underneath ground in a flat area. It’s cylindrical walls slope outwards. A trench is dug all around the pit to prevent run-off water from getting in. A roof, high enough (5.5m) to enable passage of machinery, may be constructed to protect from rain or run-off.

Tower silo

This is made of concrete, bricks or galvanized iron sheets. Drainage is provided at the foot of the tower. When ensiled material is compressed, plant juices are released and drained through an opening at the bottom. Silage is removed at the bottom. The weakness of this type of silo is that it is expensive to construct and filling and compaction is difficult thereby making it unpopular with farmers.


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