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Silage bales

Silage bales

C011/1939

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Credit

DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Stack of silage bales. Silage is harvested grass that is stored under anaerobic conditions to become feedstock for livestock during the winter months. Silage can be made from grass that has been only briefly wilted. This is a convenience to farmers in areas where prolonged dry weather is rare. Formerly silage was stored in heaps covered by black plastic sheeting; now, it is usually baled after a day of wilting, then wrapped in thin plastic sheeting to exclude air and prevent the leaching of effluent. Fermentation of the grass begins immediately. Traditional hay meadows in the UK were notable for their wide biodiversity. The appearance of heaps of black silage bales in the countryside corresponds to a widespread planting of so-called improved grasslands, consisting of a monoculture of perennial rye grass that can be harvested for silage several times a year. Photographed in Buttermere, Cumbria UK.

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