RWN Lorry Tyre Sidewalls are a cheap and very effective means of applying a heavy covering of weight evenly over silage sheets and nets, covering the the entire surface of a silage clamp quickly and efficiently.
Lorry Tyre Sidewalls cut to a high standard have only become widely available in the UK in any quantities over the past 10 years and are new to many UK farmers.
I have put this FAQ's page together so that farmers who haven't seen tyre walls on other UK farms or overseas, have a full understanding of what tyre walls are, how and where they are used, what are the many benefits and the few downsides.
Lorry Tyre Sidewalls apply weight to silage sheets and nets quickly and effectively
Tyrewalls are rapidly gaining popularity for covering silage pits in the UK. A 1000 tonne clamp can be worth £40,000. Silage is a valuable feed resource where avoidable waste and avoidable dry matter losses can no longer be tolerated. Increasingly farmers are putting much more emphasis on using high quality forage additives, oxygen barrier films and paying much more attention to sealing the pit to make it completely air tight and reduce losses.
It is clear that applying additional weight over the entire pit surface is an effective means of minimising losses.
Tyre walls are much cheaper than rubber mats or other weighting systems and much cleaner and easier to use than old car tyres.
We have seen an unprecedented rise in demand as farmers who have purchased tyre walls recommend them to their neighbours.
As a result lead times have increased and there is at times a waiting list of several months.
Delivery is normally on Walking Floor Loads to most parts of England, Wales and Southern Scotland. Tyre walls are strapped into bundles for ease of handling. A full walking floor load will hold between between 1900 and 2350 tyre walls.
Each tyre wall will cover 1m2 of silage pit surface. Where a smaller quantity is required and you have neighbours who will split a load, bundles can easily be handled with a fore-end loader and moved by tractor and trailer.
Prices depend on load size and geographical location. But to give an indication tyre walls are cheaper than silage nets and last up to 50 years whereas nets last for up to 10 years.
Each tyre walls may be used 2 or 3 times each year. If they are written off over say 15 years they can cost less than 1 - 3 pence per tonne of silage clamped.
Covering the pit is much faster than using old car tyres and we estimate that there is a labour saving of 1 - 3 pence per tonne of silage when using tyre walls. Tyre walls can can easily work out 10 times less costly than other weighted silage covering systems such as rubber mats.
Equally we estimate that tyre walls used on top of silage nets can reduce silage dry matter losses by up to £1.00 per m2 of silage surface each time they are used, when compared with using silage nets alone.
All things considered the cost of using Lorry Tyre Sidewalls is negligible.
Recycled tyres now have a number of alternative uses which puts a value on them. Rubber tyres also have markets for use overseas and for chipping for other uses and for burning in power stations.
There are also considerable costs involved with collection, sorting, cutting to the high standard required for use on silage pits, delivery, sales and marketing.
As a result tyre sidewalls do have a cost. They are however much more economical than most other weighted silage covering systems. Tyre sidewalls have a life of 40 - 50 years. If they are used only once each year for 15 years and completely cover the clamp they will still have an annual cost comparable to a black plastic silage sheet. A small price to pay for reduced silage waste, better quality silage and easier handling.
Most farmers use pallet forks to take the tyre walls on to the silage clamp when sheeting up. A pair of pallet forks will hold up to 50 tyre walls at a time. Each tyre wall will cover 1m2 of silage pit. 50 tyre walls are sufficient to cover 50m2 of silage.
Tyre walls stack well so during feed out, the tyre walls can be thrown back on to the pit to apply additional weight behind the face. They can also be stacked on to pallets or stacked directly on the sides of earth banks silage pits ready for next season.
Alternatively they can be loaded directly onto a telehandler or dropped on to the pit floor and stacked in rows along the walls. These can then be picked up with pallet forks and leaned against the outside of the pit ready for covering the next silage clamp.
In this way most handling is mechanised and manual work is kept to a minimum. These are much easier to handle than than rubber silage cover mats and at a fraction of the price.
Tyre walls are made out of used lorry tyres. The tread is cut away from the side walls using a precision cutting machine. The treads are exported for use overseas. Any damaged tyre walls are rejected and chipped for burning or recycling. The remaining tyre sidewalls are checked and hand trimmed, strapped into bundles and stacked ready for delivery to farms for use on silage clamps.
Tyre walls have been widely in Northern Europe, Scandinavia, Canada and the USA for many years with great success. Production in the UK using the same cutting machines used in Northern Europe and Scandinavia started several years ago and production has increased over the past couple of years.
This is a question that we are often asked. Yes tyre walls do contain wires. The wires are cut at right angles so that they run straight back and are firmly anchored into the rubber tyre sidewall.
Lorry tyres are a much stronger construction than car tyres and the tyre walls are flat, so they do not crease if run over by a tractor.
Tyre sidewalls are much wider than a car tyre and with a low centre of gravity they will not roll off a silage clamp. Consequently it is highly unlikely that they could accidentally get loaded into a diet feeder under normal use. We have had no reports of any tyre sidewalls getting into feeder wagons.
Tyre sidewalls cut using the same machines have been widely sold to Danish farmers for over 40 years by the designer of the cutting machine. During that time to the best of his knowledge there have been no problems with wires breaking out or coming free of the rubber tyre wall.
All tyre walls are hand trimmed at the factory since there may be a few wires up to 10mm long on the final 10mm of the cut as the tyre wall comes off the cutting machine. Every effort is made to ensure that these are trimmed and that all tyre walls are properly checked, before despatch.
We do however suggest that for added security customers do check the newly delivered bundles in case any exposed wires have been missed. If there are any they can easily be clipped off before taking the tyre walls onto the silage clamp.
Tyre walls are picked up by the inner rim of the tyre wall which stands proud of the silage sheet. This is smooth from against the wheel rim and easy to handle.
The outer edge is rough and the cut ends of wire can protrude by typically up to 1mm - 3mm when the new tyre walls are delivered. Normally the tyre walls are pulled off pallet forks by the smooth inner edge and dropped flat without need to touch the outer edge but please take care when handling freshly cut tyre walls. Gloves are advisable.
The cut ends rapidly begin to rust and will powder away to dust normally over around 3 - 4 seasons depending on the weather and storage conditions. During the first 2 -3 seasons it is sensible to take a bit of extra care to drop the tyre walls flat when placing directly straight onto black plastic sheets.
It is best to use an old black sheet over a new sheet or a woven protective silage cover for additional protection. Having said that many farmers have used tyre walls straight onto black plastic very successfully. We do not however recommend using directly on to thin cling films with out additional protection.
University research in the UK has clearly shown the large reductions in dry matter losses can be achieved by applying weight evenly over the top of silage nets.
Equally a large body of research worldwide has demonstrated the large reductions in dry matter losses and spoilage which can be achieved by using Oxygen Barrier Films to exclude oxygen during the first few days of the silage fermentation process.
Tyre Sidewalls can be used without protective nets and nets can be used without tyre walls. Nets prevent damage to the air tight plastic silage coverings but do not apply weight. Tyre walls apply weight to the surface of the clamp but do not prevent birds, wildlife and cats and dogs from damaging the sheets. Tyre walls apply 40 to 60 times more weight than most protective nets and woven silage covers, 13kg per square metre compared with 200gms to 300gms.
Silage nets do not replace the need to apply weight to the silage surface
For best results always use an Oxygen Barrier Film, Protective Nets and Tyre sidewalls or other weighting system over the nets. All are cost effective.
Tyre sidewalls are slightly depressed on the outside edge. The outer edge sinks into the silage tightening the sheet and also preventing sliding. The 1 metre wide foot print and low centre of gravity prevents them from rolling off the silage clamp as is often the case when old car tyres are placed on steeply sloping clamps.
On steep slopes they cannot be stacked against each other like full tyres but will happily sit on anything up to a 40o slope. We do not recommend building any silage pits with slopes greater than 30o since these cannot be rolled effectively and invariably result in large amount of spoilage and shoulder waste.
Tyre sidewalls will stay in place far better than gravel bags on slopes and unlike rubber mats, tyre walls do not blow off the clamp on exposed, windy sites.
The vast majority of users have been full of praise for the product. Quite often once farmers have tried tyre walls they refuse to continue using car tyres and order more tyre walls for the rest of their clamps. In fact the majority of farmers who have purchased tyre walls have recommended them to their friends and neighbours.
We have also had a very small number of customers who have been concerned that tyre sidewalls do contain wires or that the cut ends of wires are exposed around the outer edge.
We have had many repeat orders from farmers who have tried the tyre walls on top of nets and found that they have major savings in top waste, silage with better feed value and less spoiled silage to fork off and throw away.
Improved clamp covering systems can have a massive effect on profitability and offer an extremely attractive investment for any dairy farmer
Here are some comments from customers:
"Best thing we've ever used. The staff are all laughing and joking when they are sheeting up. Unheard of when we used tyres. And you cover such a lot of ground so quickly. Used with Silostop Orange Film and Nets, no waste on the top at all"
"We have hardly any waste since we have put the sidewalls on"
"Best send another load. The lads won't use tyres anymore"
"Can't believe the difference in the top of the silage "
"I have several neighbours that want a load "
"Takes no time at all to sheet up"
"Tyrewalls do a brilliant job. We really like them"
"Tried rubber mats but these are much better and don't cost an arm and a leg"
"Much faster than putting tyres on and they are dry. Non of the crap"
"You might be getting some calls. A lot of people have been to have a look at them"
"We like these a lot. We had been getting waste on the silage ever since we stopped using tyres and these are so much better to use than tyres"
"Much tidier than tyres"
Effective sealing makes a massive difference to the level of dry matter losses, feed value and quality of the silage.
Availability of Tyre Sidewalls can be limited, especially during silaging and maize harvesting season. Please order well in advance.
If you have further questions and would like to know more or would like to speak a farmer who has used tyre walls on their silage pits please get in touch.
To place an order or for advice on making better silage, reducing waste and cutting feed costs or for prices and availability contact Richard Webster.