Agri Vehicles Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Haylage  (Read 1760 times)


  • Joined Sep 2015
« on: February 27, 2018, 04:13:38 pm »
A poor summer followed by a hard winter and I'm worried about my hay running out.
To conserve what I've got, I've begged a bale of haylage, but can't get it under-cover to unroll it, so will have to feed it outside. I have 12 shetland ewes.
The question is - is there anything I can do to make it last a bit longer in the field? Just strip the wrap off half of it to keep the rest dry? Or will that accelerate its deterioration?
Or if I unwrap it, can I put a tarp 'hat' on it to stop it getting wet?
Having rolled it across a field by hand, I realise there's a limit to how much I can manoeuvre it! :o


  • Joined Apr 2014
    • Torrans Farm
    • Facebook
Re: Haylage
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2018, 05:06:06 pm »
I had the same problem so rather than put the bale in a ring feeder and unwrap it I left it on the ground on it's side and just cut the polythene off the ends.  The sheep have been eating their way through the bale from both ends for the last three weeks.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Haylage
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2018, 07:12:19 pm »
That's a good idea.  I've rarely had mine made in big round bales but when I do I just unwrap it under cover and put it into a wheeled field hayrack as I do with small bale hay.


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Haylage
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2018, 12:06:14 am »
I was told that silage, being fermented, goes off and can be dangerous if not eaten within four or five days of letting the air get at it. 

We used to reckon 40-50
sheep (depending on breed) would eat a big bale in four days. 

Ex-BH used to like to get his bales eaten within two days at most.  He liked to have 22 cattle in the cubicles because they could eat a bale up in one day. He was always meticulous about cleaning out the feeding passage between bales so there wasn’t any silage left to go stale.
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


  • Joined Apr 2014
    • Torrans Farm
    • Facebook
Re: Haylage
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2018, 07:37:40 am »
That's the point in leaving it wrapped, the air only gets to the part that's exposed which gets eaten thereby exposing more as the bale diminishes. It's much the same as using a silage pit.

Badger Nadgers

  • Joined Mar 2013
  • Derbyshire/North Staffs
  • Teeswater & Hebridean
Re: Haylage
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2018, 09:10:53 am »
And with bale still compressed, it doesn't fall out over them so much.  Less change of small ones getting smothered and less wastage, although they will try and go from the middle. 

You'll need to take the wrap off promptly when it starts to collapse or they'll get entangled in it (especially if they have horns)
« Last Edit: February 28, 2018, 09:12:40 am by Badger Nadgers »


  • Joined Sep 2015
Re: Haylage
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2018, 11:05:00 am »
Thanks for the advice. I've taken the ends off. They don't seem too interested, although the grass is under several inches of snow this morning.
Would they keep eating it after it's 'gone off'? They won't touch hay once it's wet or on the ground.


  • Joined Apr 2014
    • Torrans Farm
    • Facebook
Re: Haylage
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2018, 11:12:38 am »
Keep an eye on it and if it goes mouldy take it away, it could blind the sheep.


  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Haylage
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2018, 11:43:59 am »
We manage to buy quite dryish haylage, keeps for 3 weeks inside. Depends on how dry/soggy the bale is, ive seen a fairly new one going mouldy and slimy, chap was trying to sell me a bale!



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