The saying, "make hay while the sun shines" is accurate. Hay is made of grass that's been mown and dried so it can be stored and used for animal fodder (feed).
When hay is made using traditional methods, at least five good sunny days are needed so it can dry properly and the moisture content is reduced. If hay is baled when it's wet it will go mouldy and may over-heat. The metabolic activity can cause it to spontaneously combust and burn down the barns or buildings in which it's stored.
One reason why there are so many disused field barns (or laithes, or cowhouses) in the Dales is because they were once used to stored the hay from their surrounding meadows over winter, often with cattle on the lower floor and hay stored above. Hay didn't have to be carried far from the field, and the cattle's muck could easily be spread on the field as fertiliser. As more farmers started to make silage instead of hay, fewer field barns were needed.
Silage is compacted grass with a high moisture content. It isn't left to dry but is compacted and stored in an air-tight silo or wrapped bales, effectively using the natural sugars of the grass to ferment. Silage is also used as fodder and is easier to digest by cattle than hay. Farmers can cut for silage without needing a more prolonged period of good weather.