Now is the time to check tower silos for wear and structural faults, says Reagan Bluel, a dairy specialist with the University of Missouri Extension.
Years, even decades, of use can cause wear and deterioration of sidewalls and doors. So tower silos should be inspected annually for signs of faults that can cause air leaks and even collapse.
“Now is the time to make a visual check of the entire exterior for cracks and settlement,” she says. “Additionally, check the interior sidewalls for cracks and degradation. If you can see daylight through a tower silo wall, you have a tower silo this is likely structurally compromised.”
Like any other structure, tower silos are subject to deterioration through use and corrosion. “As a result, tower silos in disrepair may collapse because they can no longer carry the design loads caused by the stored forage,” says Joe Zulovich, a Missouri University Extension ag engineer.
Also check silo discharge doors, roof and wall openings for sagging. Roofs also can be damaged from overfilling, vibrations and the environment. Check sidewalls for cracks and bulges, and make immediate plans for repairs if you find issues.
Also be sure to harvest corn silage at correct moistures. “If harvesting forage that is juicier than ideal, as the feed ferments, the excess leachates containing acid from the silage will eat away at the concrete walls and foundation and weaken the silo structure,” says Bluel.
It’s also important that a silo distributor be properly used when filling to evenly spread the forage material within the silo. Uneven loads can cause collapse.