Silage is grass that has been preserved by pickling rather than drying. This pickling process is similar to pickling onions.
To make silage
- The grass is cut and left to wilt.
- It is then collected using a forage harvester or collected in bales.
- The 500kg bales are then wrapped in polythene.
Storing silage in airtight conditions allows the bacteria to grow.
The natural acids (mainly lactic acid) produced by the bacteria living on the grass are used to prevent deterioration and these acids give the silage its sweet smell.
Silage is more palatable to cows than hay.
The grass is cut at an earlier stage of growth than hay therefore it contains more nutrients which helps to produce more milk and meat.
Silage making is less dependent on the weather and is becoming increasingly popular.
Harvesting silage starts in May and the same field of grass may be cut up to four times in one season.