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Hay and haylage

As the land is high the livestock need to be fed over winter and from May to August the fields are busy with machinery chopping and working grass in various ways to preserve the goodness in it to feed them. You may see large round black, (or sometimes green), bales in the fields. This will be either silage or haylage. To produce silage the grass is cut and then left to wilt. Depending on the weather this will take a day or two. Then it is rolled into a large round bale. The bale is then wrapped in black plastic to keep out the air. The silage then cures. Haylage is like silage except that the grass has been allowed to dry out more and is turned more often. However it is too 'green' to turn into hay, and if some bad weather is on the way that would ruin the hay, farmers will elect to make haylage rather than see their crop go to waste.
Hay is made when the grass has had a good week of wilting preferably without any rain on it. It is turned often so that the moisture content is reduced. However the goodness is still in the grass and when good hay is made it 'sweats' in the haystack producing a distinctive sweet smell. This is why at country shows when a there is a class for hay, the judge will be seen smelling the hay



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