Cheap and easy silage

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Rob30, Jul 11, 2006.

  1. Rob30

    Rob30 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Any ideas or experience making silage without the fancy equipment. It has been hard raining weekly here. Very hard to dry hay. I see the farmers down the road making silage tubes, it only takes a day or two to be dry enough to bale for silage.
    The problem is I have a small square bailer, and may need to salvage hay some day.
     
  2. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    John Seymour has a short bit in his book, "The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It," so I know it's possible; he's clear that it's pretty tough work for a small amount, but that the silage is a superior feed through the winter. I guess the only big issue is completely excluding oxygen from the mix. I don't know if it would work here, but I've sucked the air out of garbage bags with the hose of my vacuum, spun the neck of the bag and then folded it over itself and fastened it with electrical tape and it'll hold a seal for a long time provided the bag wasn't punctured by its contents. It might be worth a try-a couple bales inside a 65-gallon contractor bag...
     

  3. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    It would be pretty hard on a small square baler, and small bags don't have a big enough mass to ferment properly every time. I'm told this weekend is supposed to be dry, it'd make for a change to have 3 or 4 days clear for sure!
     
  4. palani

    palani Well-Known Member

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    Wrap it in big bales wetter than normal. This is tough on balers so you might have to make smaller bales. The insides form hay loggy. Pitch black with a wonderful molasses smell. Cows will eat this before they touch the rest of the bale. Unfortunately you do get some spoiling on the outside so don't wait too long to feed it.

    Also, you can chop wet and blow it into a silo. The extra weight packs it in solid. Sure is tough to get out when it is below freezing though. Also, the silo leaks moisture for months. Hogs have been known to drink their fill and stagger around the barnyard.
     
  5. milkinpigs

    milkinpigs Dairy/Hog Farmer

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    Sheet of plastic / silage / cover with another sheet of plastic.Go around the edges and seal with a layer of dirt, leaving a small opening.Take a shop vac and draw out all the air you can and finish with totally sealing your plastic......like getting air out of a baggie before you seal.
     
  6. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've never done this, but I've heard of it, maybe there is more infor out there, but I think you can bail it and then salt it. When you stack the hay, do it in layers, and spread salt on each layer.
     
  7. Rob30

    Rob30 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We had alot of unexpected rain. We ended up bailing it a little wetter than normal and put it in the mow on its edge. Then we salted it. Works well. A few bales were very wet. A hand full of salt and they were dry in one day. It took 1.5 bags to do about 1000 bales.
    However I have herd of people using pit silage and other types of silage. I want more info on how to do it, if anyone has done it with success.
     
  8. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    You need the equipment but an older harvester might come pretty cheap. Essentially you cut the hay let it wilt then pick it up with a harvester chopping it into a wagon. The wagon is then unloaded into a bunk silo of some sort, piled up and packed by drivign over it, and covered with plastic (sealed) so it ferments. There's round bale silage, which is similar (except we make it drier than wetter. Pile up the bales and cover the whole stack with black plastic and bury the edge. Works better with an inoculent sprayed on especially if the silage takes a rain.