Making haylage on the Isles of Scilly
The landscape of the Isles of Scilly is dotted with tiny fields edged by tall evergreen hedges, locally called fence. These sheltered fields have developed to protect the scented narcissi that grow across the islands. These little fields mean that farming happens on a small scale with equipment having to the sourced from specialist suppliers or even bespoke built.
If you watch the video of haylage being made you will spot quite a bit of Italian machinery. Alpine farmers also have tiny fields and so, despite farming in very different extreme environments, we need the same equipment. We also use snow shovels as they're great for scooping up flower waste from the packing shed floor!
Why flowers need haylage
Haylage is a cross between hay and silage. We use it to feed our small beef herd. These cows help us to maintain good soil health on our farm. Every 4-5 years we lift the narcissi bulbs and that field is then not used for growing blub flowers for 3-4 years. During this period the land is used to feed the cows. You can find out more about our cows on their own website - scillycow.co.uk.