Like every good squirrel must, we have put away the excess of summer in preparation for a long cold winter....... over the last two weeks we have been busy harvesting our silage and baleage.
I thought this may interest a few who have asked me before what silage is, with apologies to farmers/contractors or anyone who thinks I have butchered the explanation!
WARNING - Lots of farm and machinery pics, no stitching today lol
Firstly paddocks are 'shut up' to grow for about 2 months, then the grass is mown....by hubby in our tractor, all the other tasks are done by the contractors who go from farm to farm doing this for most of the summer...
Another tractor uses a big rake to gather about 3 mower rounds into one row......
.... ready for the forage harvester(we call it the chopper) to then drive over the row, this big machine feeds the grass in and chops it all up, then blows it into the bin of the truck driving alongside. It is a feat of co-ordination between the chopper and truck drivers to keep going at the right speed and distance apart. The chopper driver can shift the spout direction to where he wants it to go to in the truck bin, but they still have to work together .
When full, the truck heads off to the silage pit, lifts the hoist and tips off their load, while the chopper starts filling the next truck back in the paddock. The excavator works on the stack, spreading and rolling the chopped grass.
And the truck goes back to the paddock for another load..... there were two trucks working this day.
When the rolling is completed, the stack is covered with a huge polythene cover and lots and lots of old tyres (recycling at it's best!) are spread out to weigh it down and keep it airtight and to stop the cover lifting in strong winds. The silage then begins to ferment and in about 3 months time it will be sweet-smelling and ready to feed to our sheep and cattle to keep them happy all winter! I will try to remember to get some photos of the loading and feeding out of silage in the winter so you can see the end result.
The Vital Statistics - 65 acres of grass, 66 truck loads in the pit, approx 460 tonne of silage
I hope I haven't bored the pants off you all with this.......... till next time........ Nicky
PS - If you didn't go to sleep during this, I have photos of baleage making to do a post about soon too..... Sorry!