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Rules for storing silage: What all farmers need to know

Rules you must follow for storing silage, who’s responsible and when to notify the Environment Agency.

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Rules for storing silage: What all farmers need to know

There are specific rules for making and storing silage. The rules do not apply to silage you store temporarily in a container or trailer for transportation.

 

Where to store silage

 

You must not make or store any silage, or unwrap baled silage, within 10 metres of inland or coastal waters.

 

In addition you must not store field silage within 50 metres of a ‘protected water supply source’. This is any place where water is abstracted (taken) for any of the following purposes:

  • human consumption
  • use in farm dairies
  • human food preparation

Ask the Environment Agency about protected water sources or use the ‘What’s in my backyard?’ map to check your local area.


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Silos

 

All parts of a silo must be resistant to attack. Your silo must have:

  • an impermeable base extending beyond any walls
  • impermeable drainage collection channels around the outside, flowing into an effluent tank

 

The base must comply with:

  • British Standard 8007:1987 and British Standard 8110-1:1997 (for concrete bases)
  • British Standard 594/EN 13108-4:2006 (for hot-rolled asphalt bases)

 

If your silo has walls, they must withstand wall loadings set in British Standard 5502-22:2003+A1:2013.

 

Ask your manufacturer, or check the manual that came with your equipment, to find out if it meets these British Standards.

Effluent tanks

 

Your silo must have an effluent collection system.

 

If all parts of an effluent tank are above ground, the tank must be constructed to resist attack from silage effluent for at least 20 years with maintenance.

 

If any part is below ground, it should be impermeable for at least 20 years without maintenance. You’ll be asked to prove your tank is suitable, for example with a manufacturer’s guarantee.

 

You can store silage effluent and slurry together if your tank has enough capacity and is built to withstand both types of effluent.

 

However, mixing slurry can give off gases that are lethal to humans and livestock, and you must never put silage effluent into an under-floor slurry store.

 

Capacity

 

The minimum capacity rules for effluent tanks should give you at least 2 days’ storage at peak flow.

 

However, it’s up to you to ensure you’ve enough capacity to avoid the risk of pollution.

Baled silage

 

Baled silage must be sealed in an impermeable membrane or bagged. It doesn’t need a specially constructed base, but you must make sure any silage stored directly on the ground cannot leak into a water source.

 

Baled silage must be kept at least 10 metres clear of inland or coastal waters.

 

 

Field silage and non-baled bags

 

For silage to be stored as ‘field silage’ there must be no construction works, for example walls or earth banks, and topsoil must not be disturbed.

 

If you make field silage or non-baled bags, you must:

  • choose a suitable site - for example if you store silage in a non-baled bag in your farmyard, you must make sure you can contain any drainage
  • notify your local Environment Agency office at least 14 days before you first use the site

 

Notify the Environment Agency

 

Use form WQE4 to tell the Environment Agency if you intend to make or store field silage. Give at least 14 days’ notice.

 

Send the completed form to your local Environment Office.

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