Silage advice needed

Food, Nutrition and Agriculture
Mortblanc
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Re: Silage advice needed

Post by Mortblanc » Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:44 am

Making silage is one of the reasons I had a father that was a university professor and two uncles that became accountants. They hated making silage so badly that they worked very hard in school to get away from the dairy farm where they grew up.

Over here silage was made by placing chopped fodder of specific blend into concrete towers 40-50 feet tall. The fodder was a mix of chopped maize stalks, chopped sorghum with high sugar content, chopped alfalfa, and molasses.

The stuff was pumped into the top of the tower and the air had to be removed manually buy young boys stomping the fodder down as it blew in, covering the young men with sticky wet green slime.

All this was stacked to a height of many meters and sealed off as much as possible while it fermented for several weeks.

The aroma is a smell one never forgets, sweet, flowery, chlorophyll fermented enough to make a cow drunk!

Many farms still have standing silos in use today, mostly dairy operations. The high food value of silage improves milk production.

ForgeCorvus
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Re: Silage advice needed

Post by ForgeCorvus » Wed Aug 23, 2017 7:17 pm

Britcit wrote:
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Go me!
:)
Shouldn't the mods give out a gold star for this :D
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Britcit
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Re: Silage advice needed

Post by Britcit » Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:24 pm

Some months ago I promised an update on how this went.

We have now opened the last of the bags of silage and it all went well. One bag did seem to have gone a little mouldy, but this was the one bag that I didn't manage to get all the air out of. This bag went into the compost heap.

The three sheep were a little unsure at first, but after a few days they loved silage. From time to time we mixed it with sheep food (shop brought) for variation.

Later this year I will be making loads more for the next winter. When I do, I will take pictures to show how I did it and may try out a few different ways.
"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 » Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:33 pm

That's great! Glad you got a usable end product. I love it when an experiment goes right and we get to learn something in the process. Looking forward to the next instalment. :)
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Clarebelle
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Re: Silage advice needed

Post by Clarebelle » Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:08 pm

I am in the same situation as you Britcit, I only have 4 sheep and buying big bales of silage from local farms is a complete waste and there is never any hay for sale here so I started making my own silage two years ago. What I do is use old lick buckets (I always keep the lids when I open a new one) and other buckets with decent airtight lids. Pack them full of grass cuttings and weight down with rocks to exclude as much air as I can. Once the lid goes on I wrap the whole things in small width silage wrap. I sometimes get a bit of wastage around the top of the bucket where there is a little pocket of air but any mould doesn't penetrate any further into the bucket. I find the size of lick buckets great, they stack for storage, are easily manoeuvred for wrapping and are the perfect size to feed to a few sheep. Your method with bin bags sounds like its working great but just thought I'd let you know what I've done.

Britcit
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Location: Shetland

Re: Silage advice needed

Post by Britcit » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:33 pm

Cheers for telling me about the buckets. I have been getting a few large mayonnaise buckets from work, primarily for our own food storage, but as I can get loads more whenever I like, I will try your method of silage making.

The hoover method was the first one I found on the www but I have been wanting to try something that wouldn't need electricity just in case the S really did HTF.

I'll do both methods this year to compare results, and will post my findings.

Oh by the way, is it weird that I love the smell of silage?
"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."

Clarebelle
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Re: Silage advice needed

Post by Clarebelle » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:16 am

Haha, not weird, I love it too, it lets me know I've made it right!

Next year I think i'll use some electrical tape round the seal of the bucket to try and ensure there's no air getting in as well as wrapping them in silage wrap. Sometimes it can be hard not to get grass in the lid seal as the buckets are packed so full.

junmist
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Re: Silage advice needed

Post by junmist » Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:15 pm

Do you leave the rock/bricks in the buckets sorry sounds a silly question
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Clarebelle
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Re: Silage advice needed

Post by Clarebelle » Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:31 pm

Not a silly question! No, I have my buckets lined up and when I'm cutting the grass I fill them up and pile the rocks on top, then carry on mowing for a while. After a while you can fit a bit more in and weigh down again. Once the grass won't compress anymore I know it's full of grass, not air and can take the rocks off, put the lid on and wrap it in silage wrap.

Clarebelle
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Re: Silage advice needed

Post by Clarebelle » Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:22 am

Well, that was a disaster! What an awful year for farming. I am lucky that it wasn't so bad up her that the grass turned brown and scorched but it was so dry this summer that there was little or no grass growth. In a normal year I would cut my lawn every two to three weeks and make a few tubs of silage each time. This year I cut my lawn.....twice! Twice all year, I managed to make quite a bit of silage but no where near what I will need for winter.

The knock on effect of the weather this year is ongoing even now that the rain has arrived. Any grass in the pasture is long gone already so the sheep are beginning to lose condition and i am already feeding silage, which i wouldn't normally do until December when they came back from the ram. So my lamb are going off to slaughter much earlier than usual

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