Small-scale silage your yard can be your field. (Feeds & feeding).
Yes, you can bag yard clippings and use it as winter silage.
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 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.
Obtain the best-quality plastic garbage bags available. Don't skimp here as the bags, once opened, can be turned inside out and washed off for reuse. Next punch or drill some holes in the bottom of a garbage can and put in two bags, one inside the other. The holes are to prevent a vacuum lock between the bags and the can.
If you want to go for silage, cut and bag early in the morning when there is a high moisture content. For haylage, cut once the sun has dried out the grasses to where it is neither moist nor dry. Here, if you have a bagging mower, you can likely dump the bag contents directly into the bags in the garbage can.
An alternative is to dump the bag contents and spread it out some so the contents wilt.
As each mower bag is put into the garbage can, step into the can and pack the contents down as much as possible. If you want to include grain, such as whole kernel corn, it can be added between layers. It will help absorb excess moisture, making the corn more digestible, plus helping to increase the overall protein content.
When the bag is full to the point it can still be handled, start with the inner bag. Twist the neck, fold it over and then tie securely. Then do the same with the outer bag. Turn the can over to dump out the contents. Store out of sunlight. Stacked in a pile is fine.
Feed the silage slowly at first to allow livestock to become accustomed to it.
You can experiment with what moisture level to put it up at.
If you want to try making grass clippings into hay, in a well-ventilated building put down' wood pallets for flooring, allow the clippings to wilt somewhat to where it still has a slight green color and spread it out in layers on the pile. Try not to compact it. Good air flow through the pile is essential to prevent rot or mildew.
Do not do this with any grasses which have been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides. I also recommend avoiding any from around fruit trees which have been sprayed.
-- Ken Scharabok
RELATED ARTICLE: Mini-baler plans.
Ron Schulz offers scale models of 11/2 hp gas or 1/3 hp electric motor baler plans for $40; or 1/16 and 1/8 scale models of hand-powered balers for $10 each. For a brochure showing all of these mini balers in color, send a self addressed stamped envelope to:
Ron Schulz, The Balerman, 6000 Quail Lane, Enid, OK 73703-9334; firstname.lastname@example.org
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|Publication:||Countryside & Small Stock Journal|
|Date:||Mar 1, 2002|
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