To clamp or not to clamp


New Member
looking for the pros cons of either ag bagging , baling or clamping
current info would have to be field clamp i do no have purpose built clamp
have increased land area will be cutting 140 acres between grass and whole crop
i wanted to multi cut the grass i,e 30 day silage for the better quality )

i have my own equipment to do the ( ROUND ) bailing side however i need to upgrade my baler with the increase on acreage
Maybe baler wrapper combo with the fuel prices in mind
do have a trailed forager if i pull it out the hedge but no trailers

( sorry couldn't resist the subject title )


Mixed Farmer
East Sussex
Been through this myself, can’t get away from the fact clamp is cheaper, but I think you need to take in all other benefits that you can’t put a value on, for me, switching to all bales opens up so many other benefits that sticking with the clamp is limiting, bales are not being helped by the rocketing price of wrap admittedly!!!

Al R

Livestock Farmer
West Wales
Don’t rule out Ag-Bag, depends where you are, with that acreage it will cost you more than if your doing 2-300acre per cut obviously but on 300 acre per cut the Ag-Bag system was the cheapest I’ve seen, they take up a lot of space though. If you factor in a loading shovel, driver, diesel and allow 5% for wastage on a clamp then Ag-Bag can work out cheaper if you have no clamps - definitely worth a phonecall to them to find out the costs and if they could do it etc..

On that acreage I’d be tempted on updating your baler wrapper combo to a Fusion 2 possibly. Obviously the wholecrop is the only issue with balers, but then you can’t use the trailled chopper for wholecrop either, but probably worth getting a contractor in for the wholecrop 🤷🏻‍♂️
I think there was (possibly now undermined by wrap price increase) an argument for bales having a lot less wastage than clamp (a generalisation) and offer much more flexibility in terms of having stacks of known quality rather than being amalgamated in a clamp which has the potential to match feed quality to specific groups of stock.
the price of plastic is up but so is the cost of building a clamp and contractors rates for doing the pit job are prob up more than the plastic, one benefit i find with the bales apart from less wasteage is that i can put it in different stacks according to quality as it takes a few weeks to do, the earliest cut stuff for stores/cull cows, then next cut stuff for any leaner cows, then the last cut stuff or in catchier weather can go to fleshier groups or dry cows, ive no idea how you do this with a pit???
How well does an ag bag work with a wagon?
There is no getting away from the fact that there will be a proportion of longer material out of a wagon if the grass is stemmy/fully in head/old - I dont know if the bag filling machinery would find that an issue - I suspect not. However, the grass from younger cut/multi-cut system aimed at high quality, which is where the smart money will be going this year especially will not be an issue at all
No one read the OP? He doesn't have a clamp.

So the choice seems to be:

1. Drag the forager out of the hedge, get it working, buy a couple of trailers and either spend a fortune on a pit or waste a smaller fortune in spoilt silage with field clamps.

2. Use a contractor and still have the pit problem.

3. Carry on with the baler, grin and bear the cost of plastic, get a contractor to chop the whole crop and put up with the wastage from not having a pit

4. As number 3 but get the whole crop combined.


Black Isle
Make hay and forget plastic? I know it’s risky and you need a shed to store it in but for dry suckler cows it doesn’t have to be all that great and they do well enough on it.

Dog Bowl

Mixed Farmer
A field clamp sounds great in the spring time when the ground is bone dry. Chop the grass, heap it up, quick roll and chuck a sheet over it.

However, I shudder at the thought of the mess and waste in the winter when feeding it back out.

Tried an ag bag a few years ago, whilst it ensiled well we struggled with mess when feeding it back out and birds constantly pecking the ag bags, resulting in a lot of waste come the end. Its also a bit of a faff getting the silage out of them tidily.

Stick with the bales. Yes the plastic is more money but it does provide you with utter flexibility in terms of feeding the right forage to the right group of cattle. That in itself is a money saver.

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HSENI names new farm safety champions

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) alongside the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP), has named new farm safety champions and commended the outstanding work on farm safety that has been carried out in the farming community in the last 20 years.

Two of these champions are Malcom Downey, retired principal inspector for the Agri/Food team in HSENI and Harry Sinclair, current chair of the Farm Safety Partnership and former president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).

Improving farm safety is the key aim of HSENI’s and the FSP’s work and...