Friday, May 22, 2015

Hey, Hey, Hey, It's Haylage Time!

It's that time again! Time for us to begin chopping hay that we will feed to our dairy cows. I shared this post with you last summer, and after a few minor updates, I thought the haylage process was worth sharing again. 
Haylage is green, freshly cut alfalfa that is cut a few days earlier, then chopped to be served to our cows later.  This is a good alternative to baling hay which requires that the alfalfa be drier. This video shows the chopping process.

Once the haylage leaves the field it is stored in a concrete bunker until it is fed to our cows. The haylage is  tightly packed, using a tractor, or, in this video, a payloader. This reduces the air from causing the haylage to rot. The end of this video shows unloading the wagon that just came from the field. After it is unloaded, the payloader adds the haylage to the pile which is being packed.

  Usually we use a blower to unload the wagons, and our tractor to pack the haylage tightly in the bunker. This video was shot when we had our neighbors help, and equipment, so unloading was done slightly different.
The final step is to cover the fresh haylage with a plastic sheet, weighed down with discarded tires. This is again to keep the haylage from rotting. We only serve healthy food for our cows!

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