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Silage clamp checks advised

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By Fiona Reid
Silage clamp checks advised

CHECK your silage clamps to avoid fines for pollution.

That’s the message to Dumfries and Galloway’s farmers from an agricultural expert.

James Cuthbertson, from agri insurance broker Lycetts, is warning that highly-toxic run-off from local farms could add to the pollution problem in Scotland’s waterways this summer.

He noted that farmers across the UK have recently been ordered to pay fines ranging from £5000 to £20,000 after silage clamp leaks polluted local watercourses.

James said: “With the silage season upon us, it is vital that Scottish farmers check their silage clamps to prevent highly-toxic run-off from entering nearby waterways.

“Silage effluent, which can be up to 200 times more toxic than untreated sewage, poses a significant threat to aquatic life, wildlife, and broader ecosystems.

“It’s essential that all parts of the silage storage system, from pipes to tanks, are well maintained. Silage clamps and all drainage systems should be carefully inspected checked to make sure they are airtight and leak-free.”

He suggested a deep clean to easily identify leaks but said farmers should be careful not to damage protective lining, asphalt or concrete surfaces, adding: “Check that the floor is sound, that cracks are properly repaired and that wall coatings and overlapping protective films are intact.

“Collection channels and drains should be regularly cleaned out to ensure they are watertight and drains flushed with water before filling the clamp, to ensure they are free from leaks or blockages.

“After filling it, effluent levels should be regularly monitored and nearby watercourses checked for signs of pollution.

“Farmers must be proactive in their approach to managing silage storage. The consequences of negligence are not only environmentally disastrous but also financially very damaging, as the substantial fines for pollution incidents are not covered by insurance.”

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