Silage advice needed

Food, Nutrition and Agriculture
Britcit
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Silage advice needed

Post by Britcit » Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:37 pm

We have a small number of sheep, and I am going to give making silage a go. I have looked at a few websites, and whilst they all go on about pH values and the like, it seems pretty simple. Or is it?

Does anyone here have experience of making small bales of silage? Any tips?

We will be using strong bin bags as we only have 3 sheep I want to keep the bales small. It seems that all I do is compact the grass down as tight as I can, expelling as much air as possible. Then with the ever handy roll of duct tape, seal it shut and store safely for the winter.

Am I over simplifying it?

Hopefully this will lead to a great reduction in our feed bill and allow us to be a little less reliant on the supply chain.
"There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know."

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peejay
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Re: Silage advice needed

Post by peejay » Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:51 am

I'm probably as far as you can get from knowledgeable on this particular subject, but my first thought whether standard bin bags would be "food safe" enough not to leach any nasties into your sheets feed?

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Brambles
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Re: Silage advice needed

Post by Brambles » Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:25 am

I've done a bit of small scale silaging in bin bags and it does work, I didn't really have much to go on and had mixed results, however I read this little mag from time to time and found this article, there are a couple of useful titles at the bottom of the story that may help.

http://smallfarmcanada.ca/2014/making-f ... all-scale/
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Britcit
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Re: Silage advice needed

Post by Britcit » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:52 pm

peejay wrote:I'm probably as far as you can get from knowledgeable on this particular subject, but my first thought whether standard bin bags would be "food safe" enough not to leach any nasties into your sheets feed?
That is a fair point you raise peejay, but one thing that a few sources seem to agree on is bin bags are okay.
Brambles wrote:I've done a bit of small scale silaging in bin bags and it does work, I didn't really have much to go on and had mixed results, however I read this little mag from time to time and found this article, there are a couple of useful titles at the bottom of the story that may help.

http://smallfarmcanada.ca/2014/making-f ... all-scale/
Thank you for that link Brambles. It seems to confirm what I had read, but does go into more detail.

I have now spent a productive afternoon 'vac-packing' bags of grass. Mrs Brit was a little horrified at the idea I may have overworked Henry the Hoover, but in the end she saw the logic. If we can ensilage grass for the sheepies we can spend less over the winter.

This year will be an experiment to see if I can do it okay. If so, next year I will try a few different ways. I hope to find a way that wouldn't rely on bin bags and a hoover. Just in case of teotwawki, will be a handy thing to know.

Will update during the winter with the results in case anyone else is interested.
"There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know."

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Brambles
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Re: Silage advice needed

Post by Brambles » Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:06 am

Yes please! even though I don't have beasts anymore I'm always interested in other people's efforts. :)
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain~anon

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Jamesey1981
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Re: Silage advice needed

Post by Jamesey1981 » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:04 am

I don't know much about making silage, the closest I've ever come was buying haylage when we had horses so I might be barking up the wrong tree.
Doesn't it need to ferment? If so then smaller bales will be harder to keep warm than large bales, so it would be worth stacking them tight and having some old blankets or other insulation to hand to keep the heat in, it's getting colder overnight and if it needs to ferment then keeping it warm would help the process along.

Britcit
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Re: Silage advice needed

Post by Britcit » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:52 pm

Jamesey1981 wrote:I don't know much about making silage, the closest I've ever come was buying haylage when we had horses so I might be barking up the wrong tree.
Doesn't it need to ferment? If so then smaller bales will be harder to keep warm than large bales, so it would be worth stacking them tight and having some old blankets or other insulation to hand to keep the heat in, it's getting colder overnight and if it needs to ferment then keeping it warm would help the process along.
Good point. The bales the crofters are doing round here are huge, so big enough to generate their own heat. I have the grass packed tight and stacked in the garage. I'll insulate further with blankets and the like. Cheers.
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Jamesey1981
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Re: Silage advice needed

Post by Jamesey1981 » Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:04 am

Yay, I successfully contributed something to a thread I know nothing about!
Go me!
:)

gamekeeper752
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Re: Silage advice needed

Post by gamekeeper752 » Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:18 pm

Just remember that most barn fires are either caused by wet hay/straw


or little arsonists
Train hard,Fight easy, put the kettle on and make tea

Britcit
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Re: Silage advice needed

Post by Britcit » Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:27 pm

Jamesey1981 wrote:Yay, I successfully contributed something to a thread I know nothing about!
Go me!
:)
Shouldn't the mods give out a gold star for this :D

gamekeeper752 wrote:Just remember that most barn fires are either caused by wet hay/straw


or little arsonists
Another good point. I could insulate (blankets), cover (tarps), and stack in the corner of the garden. Much safer than in the garage.... near the petrol...and the wood pile :?
"There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know."

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