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G RASS silage production in the United States increased
from 1.5 million tons in 1944 to more than 9 million tons
in 1952. Production is still increasing rapidly.
And the big shift is to grass silage in Montana, too. It's
just as one prominent state cattleman has said: "Grass silage
will be as prominent in the diet of cattle in the next few
years as hay has been for the last 100 years." And this
Montana cattleman puts up more than 2,500 tons of grass
silage each year. (See story page 8.)
This rapid acceleration in grass silage making is a result
of (1) increases in acreage and total yield of soil-conserving
grassland crops, (2) need for preserving more and better
feed for livestock and (3) the development of easier, faster,
cheaper labor-saving methods of harvesting, storing and
feeding grass silage.
Latest development in harvesting is the direct-cut field
chopper which eliminates mowing and raking and reduces
harvesting to a once-over operation. Storage facilities still
range from conventional, tower-type silos to trench and
bunker silos. Trend in Montana is to trench or bunker silos
because they are cheap to build, easy to fill and best adapted
to the greatest labor-saving feature of all—self-feeding.
Though storage of grass as silage is an ancient practice
followed for thousands of years by peoples in countries
bordering on the Mediterranean sea it is still not an exact
science. Recommendations still vary regarding proper mois
ture content, need for preservatives and other questions.
This article and others in this issue present a summary of
latest authoritative recommendations available from re
search agencies and from current experiences of operators
How Silage Is Formed
The transformation of a green crop into silage takes place
in a silo, trench or stack. For a short time after the crop
has been ensiled, plant respiration continues, and plant
enzymes, yeasts, molds and
(Please turn to page 16)
COVERS MONTANA AND NORTH
This side-bill trench silo on the Robinson Bros, place.
Cascade County, was tilled last summer with silage made
from millet. It proved to be excellent teed.
This side-hill silo i>n the John Horst place. Dawson
County, was filled with corn silage. The silo is an ideal
type of concrete construction.
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