The basic principles of harvesting a seasonal crop at an optimal stage and preserving it for later use have led to the development of hay and silage as forms of storage and preservation.
The key difference between hay and silage is moisture level. Hay is relatively dry and does not support microbial growth, which gives it an extended ‘shelf life’. Silage, on the other hand, contains enough moisture to support microbial growth, although through the elimination of oxygen beneficial anaerobic fermentation occurs that preserves the feed.
Optimal harvesting stage is relative, with a fine balance that must be maintained between quantity (dry matter yield) and quality (nutrient content). These values can differ depending on whether a crop is used to produce hay or silage.
Grass hay or silage
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