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The ranch. (Seattle, Wash.) 1902-1914, October 01, 1902, Image 6

Image and text provided by Washington State Library; Olympia, WA

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn98047754/1902-10-01/ed-1/seq-6/

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6
THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE
SILO.
.1. A. Reagan.
A silo is a room, pit or box holding
forage crops packed away green. It
should be strong enough to withstand
the pressure of the settling contents,
and as near air-tight as possible. It
should be so placed as to be convenient
to fill and feed from. I think it better
generally to have it outside the barn
rather than in it. If I were planning
to build a barn with silos I would place
them outside at one end of the barn
convenient to the feed alley, and would
build above ground. The size should
be such as to give about 40 pounds en
silage for each day's feeding for one
cow, and 60 pounds for each 1,000
--pound steer. Ensilage in a 30-foot silo,
refilled after settling, will weigh CO
pounds per cubic foot toward the bot
tom, and will average 50 pounds. The
weight, of course, will be affected by
the manner in which it is cut and
packed, the finer it is cut the tighter
it will pack. A common rule is to pro
vide one cubic foot capacity for each
day per animal. If the silo is not to
be refilled after settling, allowance
should be made for the settling. A
silo 30 feet high filled in four consecu
tive days will settle about 5 feet.
This past winter I fed 14,451 days
trom two silos with 16,488 cubic feet
capacity, and have over 600 days'feed
left. These silos were both refilled.
This gives about 15 days for every
16Vj cubic feet, or alter final settling,
one day for each cubic foot.
Again, make the size such that in
feeding enough be taken off every
day to prevent spoiling—about 2
inches in winter and 3 to 4 inches in
summer. A silo should have height
rather than breadth; the deeper the
silo the greater the pressure toward
the bottom; th? more ensilage it will
hold and the better it will keep. Si
los can be made of stone or brick
masonry or of concrete. The wall'
should be made so thick and strong
as to allow of no danger of cracking.
The outside of wall should be vertical,
smoothly plastered with good cement
mortar, and this, after it is dry, paint
ed with asphalt or coal tar pitch put
on hot. This pitch is to protect the
plastering from the acid in the ensi
lage. But as stone silos cost so much
more than wooden ones in most
places, and as the latter will last a
long time if properly built, and will
keep the ensilage all right, they will
generally be used ir stead of stone
ones. A wooden silo should have a
good masonry or concrete foundation.
I know of seveial silos, both round
and rectangular, to be built right on
the clay without any foundation. They
have been in use lor several years
and have given good satisfaction. As
the lining planks or staves rot at the
bottom, the clay is banked up a little
higher against them. Tarred paper
put under them and folded against
the sides would be some protection.
However, I think it better and more
economical to build on a good founda
tion. This should go about one foot
in the ground—or below whore it is
likely to freeze —and from six Irenes
to one foot above the level of the
ground. A foot in thickness is enough
if it is well banked around inside and
out. If a sill is to be used on the wall
the inside face of the wall should be
made smooth and flush with the sill
so that the lining can extend down
below the sill a little and press
against the wall. If no sill is to be
used then the top of the wall should
slope away from the inside and out
side of the wooden superstructure.
Coal tar mixed with sand, and a small
string of this, the size of the finger,
poured around the foot of the lining
presses in and makes a close joint.
There are a great many variations
in building wooden silos, but it is an
exceptional case when the heavy
framing timbers should be vertical in
stead of horizontal. This might be
better where the silo is to be built
in a barn where there are strong gir
ders or beams already in place. Gen
erally, the horizontal dimensions of
the silo are less than the vertical,
and if the timbers go around they can
be smaller than if they were placed
up ard down, and it will not take so
many of them, as they can be spaced
to better advantage. Then, again, if
the framing is horizontal the lining
can be nailed directly on it and be ver
tical. Vertical lining allows the en
silage to settle better than horizontal.
These girts are lapped at the ends
and nailed together. One is made on
the foundation and the others are
spaecd at the proper distances by
putting short pieces of scantling be
tween them, and by nailing laths on
the inside. These laths help to keep
the inside edges plumb. After they
are all in place, laths or weather
boarding, if it is to be used, can be
railed up and down on th outside
lor permanent support. In spacing
the girts it might be best to put two
together on the foundation, then
place tne next one 15 inches above,
and increase the distance apart to
three feet or more at the top, depend
ing somewhat on the strength of the
lining. These girts or curbings can be
made rectangular, octagonal or with
as many sides as you please, or even
circular. The more sides the smaller
the timbers can be. If it is to be rect
angular it is beaer to nail a piece
across the corner and if this piece is
cu t circular it makes a nicer corner.
As to lining good heart yeiiow pine
flooring is hard to beat. It is better
than double boarding with tarred pa
per between. It preserves the ensi
lage as well and lasts longer. I have
one built 10 years ago ..aat is stin
good and nas cost nothing for repairs.
Lath and plaster have not proveen
very satisfactory for lining, cracking
and softening from action of the acid
in the ensilage. If used in a round
one built as the first one described,
it might do better.
A round or cylindrical silo has
some advantages over any other form
—there is less wall surface for a given
capacity, and, of course, less material
required; it is cheaper and stronger;
there are no corners, and it is in the
corners where the ensilage is most
likely to spoil. It can be built with
upright studding—2x4s—set on a cir
cular sill and the lining nailed around
on the inside. Each course is a hoop,
and the different courses must break
joint. Spaces for doors must be left
as the lining is put on. I made one
20 feet in diameter and lined it with
:;ix3-inch flooring. It was quite troub
lesome to put on and not as smooth
as I would like. It is very strong how
ever. I made another round one that
I like much better ard it was easier
to build. It is 20x30, made with
wooden hoops and lined up and down
with flooring. The hoops were of four
thicknesses of Ix3s nailed together.
They were placed on the foundation,
one on top of another —twenty-one of
them. Then a double row of poles
were set in the ground around the silo
for suporting the staging. The hoops
THE RANCH.
h Not what is said of it, but »
u\ what it does, has made m
in the fame of the M
i Elgin Watch I
Si and made 10,000,000 Elgins neces- R|
1? sary to the world's work. Sold by iS
f|| every jeweler in the land; guar- fj!
m anteed by the greatest watch works. if
Si! ELGIN NATIONAL WATCH CO. ft
jji, * Elgin, Illinois. JkX.
were then raised to the proper heights
and were suported on laths nailed
across the staging poles. Then planks
were nailed on the inside at several
places around from top to bottom and
were plumbed and braced. Then com
mencing at one side of the door the
lining was put on. The lining was of
two lengths, 14 and 16 feet, and was
put on so as to break joint, each just
coming on a hoop. The door is con
tinuous from top to bottom. Planks
with the back edges beveled, were
nailed on to make jambs. The door
is closed by short pieces of flooring
nailed across. The sides of the door
were strengthened by putting two
thick and wide planks with their edg
es agairst the outside of the lining
planks that make the sides of the
door. These planks are notched over
the hoops and nailed to them. They
make the sides of the chute. The cost
of this silo was as follows:
Foundation $ 10.00
Lining, 2,200 ft. @ $16 36.00
Hoops, 1,400 ft. @ $8 12.00
Siding, 2,000 feet @ $8 16.00
Nails 15.00
Carpenter Work 40.00
Roof, estimated cost 20.00
Total cost $149.00
If the weatherboarding had been
left off a saving of $20 might have
been made. A permanent ladder was
nailed on to go up to the door for the
pipe or carrier, and another in the
corner between the chute and the side
of the silo. It is a stiff and substan
tial building. To raise the hoops as
I did and keep them in good shape
is troublesome, so I think it is better
to make them right where they are
to stay. Set 2x4s every two feet
around on the foundation; plumb and
brace them and make your hoops on
them. As you put on the first course
of the bottom hoop, cut pieces of the
same length for the top hoop and for
the several intermediate ones and put
them on. In this way you insure the
hoops to be all of the same size. As
you put on the lining you knock the
2x4s out of the way. Nine times out
of ten, under all probable conditions,
my choice would be between this and
a stave silo against all others. This
has the advantage over the stave in
first cost and in requiring less attten
lion for the first few years. Some
times material for one and not for
the other might be had. The stave
can be made tighter and can be closed
by tightening the hoops after the
staves have shrunk. Round iron % or
Ti will make better hoops than flat
iron. Each hoop should be made of
I pending upon the size of the silo. The
more than one piece, the number de
ends of these pieces should be pro
vided with good screw threads and
nuts and lap by each other in iron
lugs of wooden blocks. If wooden
blocks are used, they should be long
enough to take in two hoops. A very
good way is to have spaced at the
right distances around, staves thick
enough to have holes bored through
them, and the nuts —with washers —
screwed tight against the staves.
If you are going to build a stave silo
now, and in a year or two build an
other of the same size, when you get
ready to build the new one, tighten
up the hoops on the old one and nail
on wooden ones then use the iron ones
for the new one. Good silos have been
built without beveling the staves, but
I think it is better to bevel them to fit
the circle and also tongue and groove
them. This adds a great deal to the
value of the silo and not much to the
cost, if a carpenter shop is available.
They will make a closer joint and the
tongue and groove will keep the staves
from warping or falling out of place if
the hoops should become loose. If
tongue and groove is not used, then
dowels of pome kind should be. Twen
ty-penny wire nails with heads cut off
will make very good ones. They can
be put into holes in the edge of one
-tave and made to enter the next one
as it is driven into place. Very nar
row staves can be fastened together by
spikes driven through one into the pre
'■edinfi: one. If it reauires two lengths
to make the height, they should be of
different lengths so as to break joint.
Where the two lengths butt together a
piece of hoop iron should be let into a
«aw cut in each. This should be a lit
tle longer than the width of the stave
«o as to press into the edges of the ad
joining staves. From figures I got
from a carpenter and a hardware mer
chant, I estimate the cost of a 20x30
foot silo with the staves beveled and
tongued and grooved, as follows:
7 %-inch iron hoops, each to
weigh 68 lbs. and cost $1.70;
with threads and nuts, $2.20 $15.40
7 •'K-inch, each 98 lbs., $2.45; with
threads and nuts, $3 21.00
6-inch staves to work &%, 4,320
at $20 86.40
Foundation 10.00
Carpenter work, raising 15.00
Roof 20.00
Splines, etc 5.00
Total $172.80
In any silo it is a great convenience
to have the door continuous from top
to bottom and to close with narrow

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