Case Study

Harper Adams University

Precast Concrete Silage Clamps

Harper Adams is one of the UK’s largest Agricultural Universities. ARK Agriculture (formerly known as Bock UK) and Milbank Concrete Products were delighted to supply the unique sloping walled silage clamp system as part of a significant investment in their dairy and livestock research facilities.

Timelapse installation of ARK Silage Clamp at Harper Adams University
Wholecrop Rye harvest in Suffolk 2015 with the use of ARK Silage Clamp System

About the Project

Harper Adams University is one of the UK’s premier Agricultural Universities founded in 1901 with over 800 students studying degree level agriculture and land-based courses.


Installation of precast concrete silage clamps at Harper Adams University
Installation of precast concrete silage clamps at Harper Adams University

Based in Shropshire, the heart of the UK dairy industry, the campus is built around the 550-hectare University farm which is used for educational courses and academic research with its own dairy unit.


About the Project

Harper Adams (Harper) was awarded multi-million-pound funding to develop their facilities to encourage innovation in UK agriculture. Part of this investment included the construction of new silage clamps to expand existing silage handling capacity. 

Claas tractor driving on silage
Tractors driving on silage in precast concrete silage clamps at Harper Adams University

ARK Agriculture, in partnership with Milbank Concrete Products, have provided their unique, patented, concrete panel silage clamp system to build this new clamp.

To find out more information on the development please visit –

Tractors driving on silage in two precast concrete silage clamps side by side at Harper Adams University

Who are ARK Agriculture?

ARK Agriculture (formerly known as Bock UK) are the UK leaders in silage storage, bringing innovative silage clamp solutions to the UK manufactured by Milbank Concrete Products.

ARK have been supplying silage clamps to the patented sloping wall design for customers across the UK; there are now more than 50 ARK clamps in the UK, storing over 1.5million tonnes of silage. They have clamps as far North as Aberdeen – next to Donald Trump’s golf course!

Initially, the business was set up to cater for the demand from the rapidly growing Anaerobic Digestion/Renewable Energy industry, but their roots are in the storage and management of silage for the dairy and livestock sector.

As the AD industry has slowed and they have concentrated on the livestock sector, the clamps at Harper represent the fruition of this hard work.

For more information on ARK Agriculture and their silage clamp solutions, please visit their website –

What is Silage and what is a Silage Clamp?

precast concrete silage clamps at Harper Adams University

Silage is fresh grass of maize (like a giant sweetcorn plant) that has been harvested/mown and chopped into small pieces and then taken from the field by tractor and trailer.

This material is then squashed in between the walls of a concrete structure (the silage clamp) with a heavy tractor which drives up and down over the pile.

The silage is then covered with OXY SEAL protective silage sheets (also supplied by ARK Agriculture) to eliminate oxygen and preserve it for several months.

Throughout the winter, when there is no natural grass growth in the fields for cows to eat, silage is fed to cattle – the better the silage the healthier the cows and the more milk they produce. Great silage is the aim of ARK Agriculture. The whole process is not unlike pickling or canning fruit and vegetables to store them.

Design, construction and logistics

Tractor emptying trailer of silage in precast concrete silage clamps at Harper Adams University

The clamp is one complete bay (three walls), 41m long and 18m wide, using the standard ARK 3m high panels which are manufactured in Essex by Milbank Concrete Products at their specialist precast concrete factory. In total it will hold roughly 2,100 tonnes of silage at an approximate value of £73,500.

Close up of silage against precast concrete silage clamps branded 'Bock' at Harper Adams University

The clamp parts, including all the concrete and accessories, were delivered to site over a two-week period. The clamps, installed by local ground workers JK Ashbrook, were installed in one week alongside the other construction work going on site. The asphalt base was laid in one day only.

Installation of precast concrete silage clamps at Harper Adams University

ARK were on site regularly to assist in the construction as, like a lot of clamps, this was the first time JK Ashbrook had installed the system. Any teething issues were quickly overcome with some great teamwork and excellent support from Milbank Concrete Products.

Installation of precast concrete silage clamps at Harper Adams University

The hope is that this clamp will be seen by many farmers and those in education at Harper Adams and that the advantages of the system are adopted much more widely in the UK dairy industry.


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