The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Sheep => Topic started by: The Dorper man on October 05, 2021, 01:28:11 pm

Title: Bag / barrel silage?
Post by: The Dorper man on October 05, 2021, 01:28:11 pm
Hi folks

I'm sure this topic has been covered a hundred times but please bare with me as not being very tech minded I don't know how to find the conversations easily.

Basically... I'm thinking about trying some barrel / bag silage for my sheep but am finding lots of conflicting advice.

I've got a good idea of the process but do I need to cut and wilt the pasture or just pack it straight from cutting?

Any advise is much appreciated
Title: Re: Bag / barrel silage?
Post by: shep53 on October 05, 2021, 04:13:04 pm
If you cut wet grass and put it in bag/barrel you will get wet silage out which will be acidic ,low in protein  ,dry matter which will need more for an animal to get enough food value out of it , will cause sloppy dung  and if inside on straw will use more .  Basics are you need grass leaf not stalks /stems /seed heads  , as dry a standing crop as possible  , cut on a sunny day to maximise the sugars to aid fermentation  then allow the grass to dry by spreading as thinly as possible to help dry quickly and evenly  then ensile as quickly as you can and seal to keep out air .  Not sure where you are but in the uk but the time to get dry silage has about finished
Title: Re: Bag / barrel silage?
Post by: The Dorper man on October 05, 2021, 09:58:04 pm
Thanks shep53

I am planning for next year more than anything as I had a lot of excess grass this year which I struggled to get around to use before it all went to seed.
I thought about trying half a dozen bags now if I get a couple of dry days just to familiarise myself with the process as a practice runs as such....if it all fails then a learning experience if nothing else.

When it comes to a proper try at it next season I just want to be prepared to minimise waste if possible. 

If I'm understanding correctly the main points I need to focus on are....getting a dry grass and packing it super tight to minimise air ??

Many thanks for your advice
Title: Re: Bag / barrel silage?
Post by: shep53 on October 06, 2021, 11:22:43 am
Yes you've got the basics just make sure the bag is sealed and not damaged at any point  ( rats,mice ,rabbits like to make homes in silage bag stacks )
Title: Re: Bag / barrel silage?
Post by: Buttermilk on October 06, 2021, 02:54:42 pm
If you are making these without using a baler you may be pushed to get the bags packed tight enough.
Title: Re: Bag / barrel silage?
Post by: twizzel on October 06, 2021, 06:08:19 pm
Also be aware that any air leaks can cause mould and give sheep listeria. Id try it maybe for cattle but sheep need top quality forage if its ensiled. Hay is safest. 
Title: Re: Bag / barrel silage?
Post by: DartmoorLiz on October 16, 2021, 12:37:38 pm
For small scale stuff I have heard of using a vacuum cleaner to remove the air from the bags.  This incidentally will also help with compaction as it will be using atmospheric pressure to compress the bags.