Spring Hill Farms

  (Newark, Ohio)
Heritage Breed Pastured Pork, Chickens, Grass Fed Beef
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Hard Core Sustainable Farmer or Lunatic?

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Are you gonna cut this grass?
In my never ending quest to reduce inputs from outside sources (like the local feed mill) I have been widening my research on ways to increase the amount of green foodstuffs I can carry through the winter for the animals.

I somehow stumbled upon silage. Silage is somewhat foreign to me. I remember the smell of it as a very young boy when the farmer would fill the silo on our place. But I don't remember anything else about it. 

I have read several references to silage in old books but didn't see much of a way it would help me here.

First, some terminology: Silage is grasses and other forages, such as alfalfa , put up at a high moisture content. Normally it is direct cut and put into an airtight storage quickly. Haylage haylage

a feed that is halfway between hay and silage. The feed is cut when green, chopped small (0.5 to 1 inch) wilted and then stored in a special airtight tower silo.
..... Click the link for more information.
 can be the same source put up after it has been allowed to wilt to a lower moisture level. Hay can be the same source, just put up very dry. In my part of the country, corn silage is popular.

I first found this article talking about ensiling your grass clippings for chickens and
I kinda went crazy. I'm notorious for using as much of my yard as possible to graze livestock and poultry. I figure why mow it when someone will eat it?

When our yard gets out of hand (when nothing is eating the yard and I'm not mowing it either)
we have typically tossed the grass clippings to the hogs who depending on the quality of the grass will usually munch them right down.

I found a pdf doc that talked about feeding sheep grass clippings as an experiment at one of the universities and they concluded it worked well.

So even though I had the goats and some pullets in the yard, I still had some spots that were needing mowed or baled. Better yet turned into silage for the chickens!

So I read up on the several documents I could find about making silage and off I went to get the mower fired up. 

When I explained to my boys what we were going to do my youngest said "Dad...really? Are we so poor we have to save the grass from the yard now?"

Which made me laugh so hard I couldn't answer.
I'm sure this question was prompted by my recent talks with the boys about the economy.

Once I mowed the yard, I discovered the boys and mom were going to the high school football game and I was making grass clipping silage by myself.

So...it took my about
an hour or so to bag up three bags of clippings. I packed them as tight as I could and double bagged them. I also did one small freezer bag in hopes that I can observe the process.

I'll report back to you once we open a bag in a few months. We will either have grass/lawn silage or moldy grass clippings, and I read in some cases, compost.

All I know is if it works I'm going to be eye ballin' the neighbors yard next.

Until next time...




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