Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: DIY haylage  (Read 724 times)


  • Joined Apr 2020
  • Co. Derry
    • Valkyrie Craft: Handmade Canoes and Kayaks
DIY haylage
« on: May 21, 2024, 09:29:17 am »
Hi all,

Anyone tried successfully to do haylage by hand in small amounts?

We have a 2 acre field planted as a woodland (four years ago) with a 3m grass margin around it.  At times I have my (small flock) of sheep graze it with an electric fence protecting the young trees.

The grass margin is good and I feel, if possible, it would be worth cutting and baling up for haylage for the sheep to have in late winter.

Given it would be a fairly un mechanised process I would aim to do it in small amounts either using a scythe or pull behind mower with my quad.  Scythe seems wiser since I can better. O troll the amount cut at any one time.

How long should the grass be?
Is it better cut in long lengths or chopped up?
How long should it lie before packing into bags?
I have heavy grade black bin bags to put it in -  I have read both it needs very firm compression to remove air and that a vacuum will suck out enough air to work.  Any comments?

Any input appreciated
Mistakes teach best.  😳🙄😉


  • Joined Apr 2023
Re: DIY haylage
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2024, 08:33:39 am »
First a caveat - I have not done this, but did do research into small scale silage making and there are several good PDFs online - though these are aimed at silage making in less economically developed countries. I used the term "small scale silage pdf". Black bags and using a vacuum to remove air should be sufficient for ensiling.


  • Joined Apr 2020
  • Co. Derry
    • Valkyrie Craft: Handmade Canoes and Kayaks
Re: DIY haylage
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2024, 08:41:13 am »
Thanks you Vetch.
Iíd seen a couple of these but itís the difference between silage and haylage that is my stumbling block.  Iím not clear enough on the process difference between the two.
Thanks again.
Mistakes teach best.  😳🙄😉


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: DIY haylage
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2024, 02:20:42 pm »
Broadly, if the grass is thoroughly dry, ie., hay or pretty nearly, when you bag it, then it's haylage.  If it's wetter, or it's not grass, then it's silage.  There are also chemicals you can add to help the fermentation, if you use these then it's silage not hayage.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


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