Whether hay or silage is the chosen product for keeping excess forage for use as feed when pastures can not provide enough, the feed value of the product will depend on: the species chosen for haymaking or ensiling, harvesting the forage at the best time to obtain the best nutritive value, and handling the harvested forage so that the food value is maintained during harvesting and storage. Hay and silage may serve the same purpose but are made using different processes and managers must be familiar with the processes before being successful with the production of good hay and silage.

Careful consideration should be given to the potential dangers involved with mechanically harvesting forages as well as to the keys to harvesting a good yield of high-quality feed.