Bunker Silo Covers: Know What You Are Buying When Replacing Tire Inventory

Karl Czymmek, Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY

New York Farm Bureau with support from Northeast Dairy Producers Association and PRO-DAIRY continue to work with NYS DEC to address challenges with the new regulations for waste tire usage. While discussions continue and progress is being made, the implementation deadline (May 2018) is approaching and many farms are taking steps to comply. We should appreciate that DEC has indicated a willingness to use enforcement discretion, meaning there will be some level of flexibility in the enforcement of this regulation, at least initially. But the lack of suitable replacement options and uncertainty about what to do with existing tire stocks on farms as well as costs for all of this present serious challenges and are part of the ongoing discussion agenda with DEC.

Caution: It is important to understand that radial tire sidewalls may contain protruding wires that present a hazard to workers and could penetrate plastic covers and contribute metal into the feed supply. Consider if this risk is worth taking with your herd. Bias ply sidewalls without wires can be purchased, but supply and availability are reported to be limited. One producer reports noticing an increase in hardware disease after cutting a number of radial tires in half, and cases declined substantially after eliminating those from use on the bunker. We are also hearing that some receivers of used tires require them to be clean - not simply rain clean, but hosed off. To avoid rejected loads, be sure you know the requirements before sending old tires for disposal. Be aware that burning and on-farm burial of used tires is not legal.

For more general information on the topic, see the article Reducing Mosquito Breeding Sites When Using Tires as Anchors for Silo Covers.