Gorgeous drone footage of Fall farm harvest in County Tipperary, Ireland

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While interesting, this one gives a more impressive feel for what you can see in Ireland I think…

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Nice, but the music is way too dramatic… I was expecting an RPG hitting the tractor.


Correction silage is not harvested grass or fodder. It is fermented grass or fodder. Its basically anything you might have your live stock grazing on or fodder crops. You cut it. If you dry it it becomes hay, but hay doesn’t have the caloric density needed to be the live stock’s only source of food for the winter. So what you do is take that same fodder, bind it up tight in an air tight wrap (way back when it was just done in big piles, later on in silos). The plant matter will initially rot just a bit, but once it runs out of oxygen it will get all fermenty. It increases the calories in the stuff and breeds certain nutrients the animals need, and normally get from fresh food. If you’ve ever seen big, black, plastic wheels or cubes in a farm field that’s silage.

A family friend in Offaly is probably doing this about now. In the US we typically just supplement the animal’s feed with grain (that assuming they aren’t living on grain entirely). But in a lot of the world, the higher quality dairy business, and any of your even partially grass fed stuff it all sort of runs on silage.


The grass cutting pattern being used is destructive to birds which nest in grass, in particular the Corncrake. The birds won’t cross over open areas of cut grass. When the farmer makes that first cutting lap around the field, the birds are essentialy corralled in the center of the field and doomed.

A more bird-friendly pattern is a zig zag, but this is less efficient for the farmers.

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How does this happen w/o the adding anything?

Genuinely curious, please tell us if some kind of culture is required.




that music was a bit much for the visuals, i think.

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Unfortunately he’s dead. Sorry.

I know, I used Jon Bailey.

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Ok, that was cool. I could only do about 30s though.

Yesssss. Music was appropriate, too.

Same way they make beer with wild yeast, or home made kraut. All that plant matter is covered in micro-organisms bacteria and what have. And so is the air, and the soil, and your tools. Some of that will cause it to grow bad news, some of it will cause it to out and out rot. Give your pile of grass the right conditions and the good micro-organisms will preserve the plants over winter long enough to feed it to your cows and foster the formation of needed nutrients.

Its basically a grass pickle. IIRC the the situation you need is lack of oxygen and a particular moisture content, basically all you’ve got to do is keep air and water out. Which is why packing it all in a silo works. These days the wheels of cut vegetation mostly seem to get wrapped in special plastic and left where they stand or packed in barns. Don’t have any experience in making it myself, but I would imagine with all the special wraps and silage cutters and what have there is today there’s probably a way to go about culturing it. Maximize chance of success or out put or something.

But have you ever piled up a bunch of grass clippings on a compost pile or something and left it for a few days in dry weather? The top breaks down and rots too a sort of dry, powdery almost dirt pretty quick. But then you go to stir it and there’s all this warm, wet, matted, sort of broken down, but still in tact grass at the center? That stuffs basically silage. Won’t last forever in that state, but prepped right it’ll last long enough. You need to keep stirring, getting air and water in there, if you want to to compost completely.


Ah, this explains those giant white balls I see sitting in fields around this time every year. I thought they might just be dormant rovers.

Interesting to know the difference between hay and silage. Thanks for the explanation.

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Yes, that’s fermentation but where do the additional calories come from?

Honey or malt is added between layers of fodder.

Fun fact: silage is fermented in a silo.

I think I saw somewhere that silage is inferior, calories-wise, to fresh plants but superior to hay.

Yeah that might be the deal. The other end of it might be since the plant matter is already partially broken down the calories that are there are more available. Converting things that otherwise might be indigestible to things that are.

My first hypothesis was breakdown of cellulose. But ruminants already do that.