Round bale hay and silage use by dates.

topground

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
North Somerset.
How long will well made round bale silage retain its feed value?
How long will well made round bale hay retain its feed value?
I have sourced some made last year at fair money to both parties as a strategic reserve and I am wondering what it’s reasonable shelf life might be.
How old was the oldest hay and wrapped silage you have successfully fed to spring calving suckler cows?
 

andybk

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Mendips Somerset
more than once we have used some very old but well made (yellow) hay as bedding , sheep love it and leave the green stuff in the racks , must be 10 years old plus , wrapped stuff will last as well but damage to the wrap is what will kill it , plastic degrades and holes from bird claws and sun isnt good , so plenty of layers with well made grass will last , wet sht made in october with 4 layers not so .
 

Wisconsonian

Member
Trade
Dry hay will lose vit A quickly, and probably other vitamins too. Animals liking it better than current hay is common too.

Haylage in an upright silo will look like dirt on the top foot, a little moldy for another six inches and look and smell as good as fresh under that, after 5-10 years. I've never seen bales last, but I don't see a lot of bales either.
 

JD-Kid

Member
seen very old silage pits some covered with lime shorter time Fram for plastic UV gets to it and breaks down
know guy I worked for had a huge pit he just kept adding to it each year some of the stuff at the back would of been well over 10 years old by time finally feed it out still as good as day it went it funny stuff was rape and grass come out a lime green colour. rest of pit grass oats alfalfa etc etc all more like a packet of pipe tobacco

bales 2-3 years tops really some shorter if plastic breaks down or holes in it
hay outside as rounds depends on weather dry areas last quite a while wet and damp more waste shed stored good for many years
 

Dry Rot

Member
Livestock Farmer
Silage is really interesting stuff to research. Just from memory, but there was some doctor or professor who ensiled herrings during the war in Shetland or one of the islands. They kept well and were good food. I used to buy herrings at £1 a box when in the Outer Isles as the trawler men would sell them off rather than go back to port with less than a full load. Something about the build up of CO2 in the hold preserving them.

And eskimos used to trap geese by encircling them with nets when they were at the flightless stage. They'd then be buried in the snow en masse in a big pit to ensile them. Then they'd dig them out later when food was scarce.

I used to get salmon waste and trimmings from a factory for feeding to my dogs. A correspondent living inside the artic circle told me they ensiled salmon for their sled dogs. The process was called "staling" and it could be done in an enclosed wooden box. I never got around to trying it but it made sense. The staling took a few weeks.

Stone age man would bury grain in big pits. The outer edges would rot but the centre would stay good. My uncle's tractor fell into one of these pits!

I'm bored and can't sleep, hence the nonsense. Sorry!
 

JD-Kid

Member
Silage is really interesting stuff to research. Just from memory, but there was some doctor or professor who ensiled herrings during the war in Shetland or one of the islands. They kept well and were good food. I used to buy herrings at £1 a box when in the Outer Isles as the trawler men would sell them off rather than go back to port with less than a full load. Something about the build up of CO2 in the hold preserving them.

And eskimos used to trap geese by encircling them with nets when they were at the flightless stage. They'd then be buried in the snow en masse in a big pit to ensile them. Then they'd dig them out later when food was scarce.

I used to get salmon waste and trimmings from a factory for feeding to my dogs. A correspondent living inside the artic circle told me they ensiled salmon for their sled dogs. The process was called "staling" and it could be done in an enclosed wooden box. I never got around to trying it but it made sense. The staling took a few weeks.

Stone age man would bury grain in big pits. The outer edges would rot but the centre would stay good. My uncle's tractor fell into one of these pits!

I'm bored and can't sleep, hence the nonsense. Sorry!
if yer think about it silage is just fermented grass and once it gets to a stage of no oxygen left it's stable
I maybe wrong but did they not find preserved foods in some tomes like some cabbage type thing in earth ware pots
air in compost no air preserved
 

steveR

Member
Mixed Farmer
I have fed 3 yo rb silage from a fusion and found it to palatable to cattle. Had gone a bit dark but was fairly dry when baled I think. Kept out of full sun helped, as the last few bales were in an old clamp against the wall.

Hay... I chucked some ancient little bales under the cattle one time after clearing out an old loft, must have been 20+ years old. A little bit musty, but the cattle munched it quite happily. Once I cut the strings, the hay was brittle and super dry though.
 

Nithsdale Farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
2020 we were tidying up the back of our silage bale heap before putting that years crop in... there were some bales with string on them which had been built in but never gotten back to, to use. The wrap was ok-ish. We opened them up and dumped them on an old stone bing out with the cows (summer) and they ate almost all of it with no ill effects.

Without knowing exactly when those bales were made, I'd guess they were 18-22 years old when we fed them out



I say that knowing the string baler (Krone kr125) was last used in 2002 - replaced with a Claas 255rotocut for the 2003 season... And I'd guess the bales were from some time between maybe 1998 and 2002.
 

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HSENI names new farm safety champions

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

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The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) alongside the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP), has named new farm safety champions and commended the outstanding work on farm safety that has been carried out in the farming community in the last 20 years.

Two of these champions are Malcom Downey, retired principal inspector for the Agri/Food team in HSENI and Harry Sinclair, current chair of the Farm Safety Partnership and former president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).

Improving farm safety is the key aim of HSENI’s and the FSP’s work and...
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