First Harvest at Bradfields and Downham Hall Farms

We create grass silage for our cows during the summer to ensure they have a delicious, balanced diet during the Winter. This year, for the first time, we have used the grass at both Bradfields and Downham Hall Farms.

The grass was harvested last week. This process usually begins at the start of May, when the weather is just right and grass is growing quickly but was done late this year owing to damp weather. The grass is cut using a tractor mounted mower and left in the field for overnight to ‘wilt’ the crop. This reduces the moisture content from about 80% to towards 70%.

Once wilted the grass is collected into rows ready for the forage harvester to pick it up.

Putting the grass into rows

The forage harvester picks up the grass and also chops the grass into small lengths, making it better for the compaction and fermentation processes. The harvested grass is collected by trailers which transport the cut grass to the clamp.

Harvester and trailer

The harvested grass is then compacted in the clamp to encourage the fermentation process. This begins by piling all of the grass into a silage clamp. A tractor then drives over layers of the chopped grass continuously so as to ensure the grass is compacted as tightly as possible.

This is at Bradfields.

And at Downham

Once the grass has been compacted, it is covered with a sheet and weighted down to prevent it blowing away in the wind. This excludes oxygen and to create a seal to protect the silage from the weather.

The process of harvesting is a specialist job and thanks to Alex, Ben and Gemma Sell and their helpers for doing the silage for us at both farms.