ARK Agri recommends the use of specific limestone free asphalt (HRA) for silage clamp bases.
Concrete can be used as well but has more limitations.
Why do we recommend asphalt for silage clamp bases?
- Asphalt can be laid by a paver and silage stored on the surface relatively quickly (subject to manufacturer advice) this could be within 72 hours. Concrete bases require longer curing – up to six weeks before they can be used to store silage.
- Asphalt does not have vulnerable expansion joints that in a concrete base quickly become a trap for silage clamp leachate. In our experience, the expansion joint is the most likely part of a clamp to leak with a traditional concrete base. This is especially true at the joint between the base of the panel and the wall.
- You can replace asphalt after many years of use by stripping and re-laying the top surface. This will only take as long as standard asphalt laying time (i.e 72 hours to cure).
- On a concrete base, once the concrete has worn, often exposing the steel reinforcing, the only available solution can be to lay asphalt on top of the worn concrete. In most examples, this does not create a good surface to bond to, so the best solution is to use asphalt on day one.
Asphalt can be easily sculpted to ensure the correct slopes away from the bases of the panels and along the length of the clamps. Joints between an asphalt base and a concrete wall are also easier to seal.
Points to consider with the use of asphalt:
- The asphalt you use must be specified for use in a silage clamp – in most instances this means removing any limestone from the mix. Going to a reputable asphalt manufacturer for more information is vital
- Silage clamps with asphalt bases can be damaged by prolonged pressure (especially during hot weather) from heavy puncturing forces (a good example is a shoe on the front of a trailer). Any silage clamp with an asphalt base should only be used for silage storage – not as a storage area for other machinery.
- Any perforations in the asphalt on the silage clamp’s base need to be filled with more bitumen to prevent any leaking.
If you have questions about your silage clamp feel free to get in touch, we’re always happy to help.