As saving money becomes vital on farms across the country getting the most out of your feed deliveries is now paramount.
Feed quality can be affected by a number of factors, from raw materials and production to delivery. But one factor often overlooked is the importance of good farm storage, particularly the care of feed bins.
Making sure your feed bin is clean and free flowing is most important. Feed blown into a bin, loft or shed will inevitably generate a small amount of ‘fines’ residue, because of the agitation of the product during transport.
For each delivery, the level of fines in the bin could increase if:
• The bin is not regularly emptied or allowed to run out
• The bin runs out, but on inspection, there is still residue
The ‘biscuit barrel’ analogy
Each week you tip a new packet of biscuits into your biscuit barrel and eat all the biscuits, but crumbs drop to the bottom. Over time, more packets are tipped. After a while, the barrel and its contents start to smell and become damp or even mouldy. To rectify the problem, the barrel needs to be emptied and cleaned. Even good quality products can be compromised if the storage facility is not cleaned on a regular basis.
Because most feed bins empty through the middle, fresh deliveries will draw down through the older feed and fines can start to build up. Other problems can be caused by temperature changes when the days are warm, but the nights are cold. This causes condensation inside the bin, which can cause dust particles to become sticky, mouldy and hinder feed flow and quality. This can be further aggravated by hot and humid weather, which causes the feed to dry out faster.
Mole Valley Farmers can help coordinate your feed orders and logistics by stocking your order for a flexible delivery date, or by supplying bagged feed if required. Customers can then empty their bins for cleaning or inspection, without worrying about being unable to feed their stock.
BIN HYGIENE TIPS
- Remember to take care when carrying out all bulk bin cleaning operations – safety first
- Inspect each bulk bin at least once a month
- If necessary, clean out the bin every six months as a standard routine
- Check for leaking seams on the bin or porous rusty areas
- Pay attention to the input and exit mouths of augers
- Always ensure the bin is near to empty as far as practical between each feed delivery
- Empty the bin, clean and if necessary fumigate annually to ensure eradication of all insects and mites• Using a smoke bomb every six months will also help control insects and mites
Many of the factors necessary to achieve good bulk bin hygiene are equally applicable to the loft and bag stores.