Devon Life Making Silage

24th September 2018

Earlier in the year we took back about eight acres of fields which were being rented out to a neighbouring farmer. We had decided to get some Greyface Dartmoor sheep, we didnt want these in with the ‘pet sheep’ so needed some new paddocks.
With some help from a neighbour we fenced off our fields and created two new large paddocks. We then had to wait for the contractors to come in and sow the grass seed. This was a bigger job than I thought as they first ploughed the land, raked it, rolled it, raked it again, sowed the seed and then rolled it again.
All we needed then was some rain to start it growing. Unfortunately, they finished sowing the seed at the time when we had no rain for about eight weeks. For once we were wanting rain!
Eventually the rained arrived and the grass did start to grow. The grass carried on growing and we had too much. So, we decided to make silage out of the larger paddock and the smaller one has a neighbours sheep in it as we are still waiting for our new ones.

Moorparks-silage in-rows

Grass cut, in rows ready for spreading

What is silage ?
Its just long grass which is cut and bailed and then wrapped in plastic sheeting to stop the air getting into it.
The grass was new, fresh and long.
Mr Woolley came along with his tractor and in about 40 minutes the field was cut and in neat rows.
Two days later Mr Woolley was back to spread the grass, just to let it dry a little.

All baled and waiting for collection.

The bales were loaded up onto a trailer and then taken back to the farm for wrapping. These bales will be used to feed cattle over the winter period and in exchange we will receive some hay to feed our sheep.

Moorparks first silage bale.

And just for a sense of scale, Michele is here modelling a 2018 silage bale. The bales are compressed and extremely heavy. One round bale is equal to approx. 25 of the standard rectangular bales.