Precision Chop Silaging

forager.jpg (41588 bytes) The precision chop method of silage making differs in that the grass is not allowed to wilt so long as for round baling. The time of harvesting is also more tightly controlled. A machine called a precision chop forage harvester, gathers up the grass. The most modern of these, are self propelled (left) and cost as much as an average size house. All precision chop harvesters are fitted with internal rotating blades. These cut the grass into lengths which are about 2 cm long. The machine is fitted with a discharge shoot and the grass is fed into trailers as the harvester is going along. The short lengths of grass take up less space and this reduces transport. The crop is also easier to handle in the silage pit and compacts well. 

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The trailers, which have extra high sides to contain the grass are then taken to the pits by tractor and unloaded. Here, the finely chopped grass is carried into the pit by a loading machine. The grass is evenly spread in layers and rolled by the loading machine to expel the air. The exclusion of air is vital as it allows anaerobic bacteria to flourish. These bacteria can only survive in the absence of oxygen. The ultimate effect of the bacterial action is to pickle the silage by fermenting it.
trailer4.jpg (96630 bytes) Harvesting grass in this way is a high speed operation. A fleet of tractors and trailers dash backwards and forwards, taking the loads of grass from the harvester to the pit. In principal, the faster the pit can be filled with compressed grass, the better the silage will be. When the pit is full it will be covered with a plastic sheet to prevent air from penetrating the silage.