When preparing a base for drive-over piles, hot-mix asphalt is an option that provides excellent versatility and durability.
Asphalt provides a more permanent, protective, durable surface compared to packed limestone, and is not prone to etching and breakdown that can occur when concrete is exposed to acidic silage over time.
Ev Thomas, former Vice President of Agricultural Programs at the W. H. Miner Institute, Chazy, N.Y., says there is no comparison between asphalt and concrete. "I have seen asphalt bunker floors and pile platforms that are 25 or more years old, and look brand new," said Thomas. Concrete, on the other hand, can start deteriorating in just 3 to 5 years.
He noted asphalt is less expensive than concrete in many parts of the country, and holds up well in extremely cold and hot climates. A few years ago, the Miner Institute resurfaced several deteriorating concrete bunker floors with asphalt.
Details for both pouring new silage pile platforms – and resurfacing existing concrete – with asphalt can be found in a comprehensive guide published by the Asphalt Paving Alliance at http://dairyherd.com/sites/default/files/Asphalt_for_silo_floors.pdf.
This article originally appeared as a sidebar to Silage: Pile it on, from our February 2013 issues. Read it here: Pile it on