Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: success with barrel silage for sheep!  (Read 7589 times)

trefnantbach

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Anglesey
success with barrel silage for sheep!
« on: January 26, 2012, 07:26:39 pm »
Hi I thought I would share this experience with you. As I teach full time I don't have the time to make hay or silage when theres grass to spare but now we have increased our sheep numbers to 17 on our 7.5 acre holding grazing is a bit scarce in Jan/ Feb. Over an acre of the holding is a lake and probably about another half acre consists of lawns and gardens. I already periodically graze the lawns in Autumn/ winter but mow with a ride-on in summer. Rather than mulching or composting the cuttings, I had the idea last summer of ramming in the cuttings into a wheelie bin, sealing the top under the lid with a bin bag, wait and hope for the best!

Last week before starting to feed the ewes with bought in hay, I opened said wheelie bin and after removing the top six inches of soggy foul smelling stuff, below was sweet smelling silage. I could have eat myself - it smelled so good!.

After wheeling it into the field and tipping it down onto its side with the lid lowermost so that animals would not get trapped . the sheep layed into it like no tomorow. After about three days they had wolfed the lot! The only thing I had to do was to tip down the last third from the bottom. One or two ewes were going all the way in to the bin to feed!

Before next summer I intend to gather together more un-needed wheelie bins from neighbours and friends to do more. To cut down on the cost of bought in hay. has anyone else tried this?


Hermit

  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: success with barrel silage for sheep!
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2012, 08:35:46 pm »
We do blue barrel silage and have done for a couple of years now. When we have filled a blue barrel with grass clippings we pour on a couple of pints of molasses seal the barrel by putting the lid back on, then seal with pallet wrap and then turn it upside down. This gives a good seal. We did over thirty last year and it is so sweet and fresh, not slimey or dark at all. In fact we have problems filling the troughs cause the sheep dig in so quickly. The seal is the key . If you can get hold of enough grass clippings would recommend it to anyone.

Small Farmer

  • Joined Jan 2012
  • Bedfordshire
Re: success with barrel silage for sheep!
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2012, 10:42:47 pm »
THats a smashing idea.
Being certain just means you haven't got all the facts

Moleskins

  • Joined Sep 2009
  • England
Re: success with barrel silage for sheep!
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2012, 11:38:57 pm »
I'm wondering where I can get more grass clippings now as we only have a small lawn!
Is the food value of silage better than hay to make this worth doing other than on cost grounds?
Time flies like an arrow but fruit flies like a banana.

bigchicken

  • Joined Nov 2008
  • Fife Scotland
Re: success with barrel silage for sheep!
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2012, 12:00:03 am »
Would this work if you just used a bucket bag doubled and well sealed
Shetland sheep, Castlemilk Moorits sheep, Hebridean sheep, Scots Grey Bantams, Scots Dumpy Bantams. Shetland Ducks.

Hermit

  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: success with barrel silage for sheep!
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2012, 07:04:20 am »
We have 23 Shetland sheep on a 35 acre heather moor / heath that is left every summer to grow, so mine have lots of forageing, two troughs piled high of bb silage every morning ,four sections of hay everyday and a mineral lick. We dont feed bagged yet and they are thriving and have been commented on by top sheep men how good they look, so I guess the quality is good . We have a source for grass clippings so we can fill the barrels up with fresh grass quickly and seal , another key to good bb silage, it is no good left to fill over a few weeks Good luck , have a go. ps I do know on another forum someone does it in thick black bin liners , dump bags are porous I would think but you can experiment and report back. That is how most folk learn new things as indeed we have done.

robert waddell

  • Guest
Re: success with barrel silage for sheep!
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2012, 09:56:49 am »
what you are doing is an adaption to round bale silage/haylage  i cant remember the microns of the silage bags but there was a big difference in the thickness of them at the time     also the price     new did not mean good
our first bags we bought for round bales was 99 pence each very good quality and lasted for years even doubling them up  the first year we made 1500 bales with subsequent years 1000-1200 and can honestly say the bad bales in total would not exceed 10
grass or clippings if stored AIRTIGHT will keep  the black scum is caused by second fermentation this gives a protective layer and stops the whole lot rotting
anything that will store clippings and can be made airtight will work bags have to be made vermin and bird proof
i have even seen round bales stored   without bags or wrapping   in the center of a pile with just polythene sheet covering them  and they did not rot or spoil
silage pits if sealed properly will have no waste :farmer:

Moleskins

  • Joined Sep 2009
  • England
Re: success with barrel silage for sheep!
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2012, 05:52:41 pm »
I'm really taken with this idea and have been looking at how to make silage,
found this article which is worth a look, and  I'm wondering how well those tough
black bin bags will work instead of the carrier bags mentioned.
www.smallstock.info/tools/feed/silage/lbs01.htm
Time flies like an arrow but fruit flies like a banana.

trefnantbach

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Anglesey
Re: success with barrel silage for sheep!
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2012, 06:46:38 pm »
Hermit, Where do you get your blue barrels and the palet wrap?

Hermit

  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: success with barrel silage for sheep!
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2012, 07:02:33 pm »
We are lucky that we have lots of places that use blue barrels up here such as salmon and mussel farms, they are used in all sorts of industry but you have to be careful to what has been in them. You may have to pay for  them as the companies get refunds on them from their suppliers but they are too expensive up here to return so we get them for free.Pallet wrap we get from the builders supplies.

Croftgary

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2008
  • Aberdour,Fife
Re: success with barrel silage for sheep!
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2012, 10:32:18 am »
Just a thought, if you could source the right kind of bag, fill with grass cuttings and then get a heat sealer , then store . You would have bags of silage for next winter.. It's seems all too simple but I suppose the best things usually are.

Croftgary

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2008
  • Aberdour,Fife
Re: success with barrel silage for sheep!
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2012, 02:51:58 pm »
Found this,
http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PNADQ897.pdf
Clearly a good idea, well will find out in a year, now to research heat sealers..

 

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