Harvesting and storage of cool-season grass hay and silage

Michael Collins, Craig C. Sheaffer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Forage stored as hay and silage provides feed for livestock during periods when pasture growth is insufficient and for use in confinement feeding systems. This chapter summarizes current knowledge of field drying and associated changes during preservation of cool-season grasses as hay and silage. Cool-season grass hay usually dries more rapidly than legume hay, and differences in drying rate also exist among cool-season grasses. Mechanical conditioning has been shown to be an effective management practice to increase drying rates of grass hay. Respiration and microbial growth, and resultant heating during storage of high moisture hay, reduce dry matter yield and digestibility and increase fiber concentration. Silage is feed produced by controlled fermentation of high-moisture forage crops. Direct-cut silage is harvested and stored without any reduction in forage moisture. Field losses are least for direct-cut silage but storage losses can be greater than for other silage types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCool-Season Forage Grasses
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9780891182269
ISBN (Print)9780891181309
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 1996 American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, 677 S. Segoe Rd., Madison, WI 53711, USA.


  • Cool-season grass hay
  • Direct-cut silage
  • Field drying
  • Field losses
  • Mechanical conditioning
  • Microbial growth
  • Microbial respiration
  • Storage losses


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