Posted by: 347bennetrd | February 17, 2011

Silaging – or Big Machines for those that are interested

Making hay.  Sayings abound about this well-known farming activity.  I have some old memories of going down to bring Dad his vegemite and cheese toast sandwiches for lunch while he was making hay in the old MacIntoshes paddock.  I can just remember sitting in the grass next to the tractor with the old thermos and picnic basket, and hearing the sky-larks overhead.

Nowadays we don’t make hay, but silage instead.  And we’re not involved at all – its completely done by contractors.  Gone are the times when we’d have to be out on Christmas Day covering the silage stack!  It’s all about big machinery – check out this super-size-me grass rake;

First they go round and mow all the silage paddocks (that have been locked up for about 6 weeks for the grass to grow nice and high, and urea applied to the paddocks).  This is done about 12 hours before the next part of the process to let the grass wilt.  Then our mate the huge rake comes along to gather the smaller mown rows into larger ones.

The chopper drives over the rows and spits the finely chopped grass into the back of the truck driving along next to it.  The next truck in line is ready behind it, he’ll drive straight up once the first one is full without the chopper stopping;

The truck then goes and sits on the weighing scales (this is how we pay for the service – by amount of grass dealt with.  Depending on how the season has been, the grass can be more or less thick).

Then the truck dumps its load on the silage pit;

Meanwhile, the digger and another machine that I don’t know the name of are busy driving back and forth to pack the chopped grass in tightly.

Basically silage works by squashing all the air out of the pit and covering it tightly with a cover.  The grass then ferments and can be kept for a number of years.  As you open the cover in winter to feed out silage, air attacks the grass and can turn it mouldy.  And if you remember, the pit is also the site of my attempts at learning to load the silage wagon



  1. would the other machine be a loader? Oh the memories of sitting in the silage trucks! Were you there when Uncle Eoin was driving an old merc truck one year?

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