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Montana farmer-stockman. [volume] (Great Falls, Mont.) 1947-1993, May 15, 1953, Image 1

Image and text provided by Montana Historical Society; Helena, MT

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86075096/1953-05-15/ed-1/seq-1/

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May 15, 1953
Best Way to Preserve
Most Forage Nutrients
With Least Waste
S ILAGE, particularly grass silage, is be
coming a popular form of forage pres
ervation in Montana. The first reason for
this popularity is the fact that good silage
is more nutritious than the best hay. The
second reason is that good silage can be put
up in weather that would be impossible for
making good hay. But the chief reason is
- the rapid development and simplification of
ensiling methods.
This development can be expressed like
A silo is expensive. Don't build a silo.
Chopping machinery is expensive. Don't
chop the silage.
Feeding out silage is difficult. Don't feed
it out. Let stock eat it out cafeteria style.
The principles of silage making have
boiled down to this: Make your silage of
any kind of forage—grass, corn, weeds, what
have you. Put it into any kind of silo you
wish—upright, pit, trench or don't put it in
a silo at all. Just pile it on the ground.
Whatever you do with it, be sure the silage
is packed tight, particularly at the edges,
and cover with straw, dirt, sawdust, paper,
anything cheap and handy, that will en
close your silage as nearly airtight as pos
Actually the story of the progress of
silage in Montana goes way back to home
stead days. Homesteaders needed some way
to preserve their chief crop, Russian thistles,
in the most succulent form. Ensiling was
the answer. But upright silos and ma
chinery to fill them were out of the ques
tion. Anyone could dig a hole, however.
So the pit silo was created. It was easy and
cheap to fill, it preserved the silage per
fectly, but it was a backbreaking chore to
feed out.
Then came the trench silo. It was cheap
to build, easy to fill and not too difficult to
feed out.
But not every farm has a site for a trench
silo that will drain, so some operators be
gan building their silos on top of the ground.
They scooped out an area not more than a
foot or two deep, pushed the dirt up to form
dikes at the sides. Or they set posts around
to. Jr
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Make It From Any Forage
a circular area, connected the posts with
hog wire and lined the wire with sisal paper.
This last method makes a cheap silo but, of
course, a blower or elevator is necessary to
fill it.
But, understandably many operators hesi
tated to add to the haying equipment they
already had — stackers, balers, etc. — the
extra expense of a forage chopper. The nat
ural solution to that problem was long grass
silage. Why not? It's been used for years
in European countries. Some even baled
their long grass silage. It worked, and the
bales were a cinch to feed out in the winter.
A variety of methods have been used to
take the silage out of the silo or pit. A
scoop on a power loader is a natural, of
course, but lately some operators have made
feeding silage even easier than that. They
simply build a movable rack or stanchions
across one end of the silage and let the
stock run right to it. The rack is moved up
as the silage is eaten.
Here's a quick review of the advantages
and disadvantages of various types of silos
and methods of ensiling:
Upright Silo
The upright silo is still perhaps the most
effective type in point of preservation with
minimum waste and spoilage of silage. It
provides a minimum top surface area for
exposure to air and it assures tight packing
as the silage settles of its own weight.
Chief disadvantages are the compara
tively high cost of construction and the need
(Please turn to page 16)
for blower

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