Our Claas Jaguar forage harvester is a real game-changer, and an essential tool in making silage.
Silage is grass, corn or other plants that have been chopped into small pieces, compacted together and preserved through fermentation to retain as much of the nutrients (such as sugars and proteins) as possible.
It is important to have a window of good weather to cut, dry, and collect the grass. Forty-eight hours before the forage harvester can do its job, the grass is cut and left to dry. If after a day or so it needs more drying, it is tossed into a machine called a tedder. Otherwise, it is raked up into rows so that the forage harvester can more easily collect the grass.
The forage harvester collects the chopped grass, pulverises it, and mixes in an additive which will help with the fermentation process of the silage. And with approximately 550 verges of grass to be mowed, collected and stored, this the biggest private silage operation that’s ever been undertaken in Jersey.
Until now, there were only three forage harvesters on the island, shared by local farmers. That meant at times, the grass wasn’t able to be collected at the perfect condition if the machine wasn’t available.
For us, this is a real game-changer. Having our own forage harvester means that at the turn of a key, when the weather is right and the crop is at the perfect condition, we can go out and harvest our crop for our animals, providing a supply of nutrient-rich feed for our herd throughout the year.