Silaging Time in Cumbria

Documenting Silaging in The Lyth Valley, Cumbria

Silaging is when pasture grass is cut, rowed up into lines, carted away and then fermented to keep as much of the nutrients (such as sugars and proteins) as possible, then it’s stored in a silo pit. For the cows and sheep to eat at a later date when natural pasture isn’t good, like in the winter months.

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Grass is the cheapest source of feed for any livestock enterprise and effective utilisation of grass and its management is the key to getting the most out of the grassland. Farm Animals depend on grass as a major source of energy and protein as well as vitamins and minerals.

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The Process:                                                                                                                                                   (Put very simply – a lot of other details go into this process and hard work from the farmer):

  1. Mowing of the grass
  2. Let the grass wilt enough to remove moisture
  3. Use a chopper to pick up the cut grass and cut it into shorter lengths, the chopper then blows the grass into the trailer(s)
  4. Transportation of the cut grass to the farm where the silage will be made and stored usually in a building or covered yard.
  5. Fill the silage pit as quickly as possible. Each load is spread and compacted with the tyres of a tractor or JCB or something equivalent so that the air is expelled. we call this ‘Buck Raking’ here in Cumbria.
  6. Done! The grass will then be covered by a plastic sheet and the grass will then ferment in the absence of oxygen and create silage for the cows in winter etc.

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© Louise Thompson Photography 2016, all rights reserved.