28 JUNE 1940, Page 11


The Importance of Ensilage Here in England, apparently in contrast to the rest of Europe, the grain harvest promises to be excellent. But hay will be thin and of poor quality. The question of ensilage—i.e. the preserva- tion of young green grass and other green forage by air-tight packing while the materials are still moist—therefore becomes of the greatest importance. Ensilage is not new ; but new and cheaper methods are replacing the original system of expensive silos, and I do not think it would be too much to say that in war-time an extensive system of ensilage, properly organised, would be a line of national defence. There is on the market now a silo that is nothing more than a wire cage lined on the inside by bitumenised sisal-grass paper. Its powers of resistance to pressures of temperature are said to be enormous. Its cost is small, and in time, when necessary, it can be re-lined with new paper. Into a silo of this type, which can be set up anywhere, a farmer may ensilage any one of a dozen green crops, including not only young grass, but oats, peas, vetch, wheat, beans, tares, maize, pea-vines and pea-pods for canning factories, and even sunflowers. All these produce winter cattle-feed of high value ; ensilaged lucerne and maize, for instance, will furnish more than double the amount of digestible nutrients per acre of many grasses.