Judging by History of Silage by Wilkinson et al (2003), the premise behind the question is somewhat inaccurate.
Silage making is probably more than 3000 yr old. The ancient Egyptians and Greeks stored grain and whole forage crops in silos. Reviews of the history of silage refer to the mural in the Naples Museum, which shows whole-crop cereals being harvested and loaded into a small stone-built silo (Shukking, 1976; Woolford, 1984). Kirstein (1963) mentioned that silos were found in the ruins of Carthage, indicating that forage was ensiled there at around 1200 Be. Cato (cited by Shukking, 1976) noted that the Teutons in the first century stored green fodder in pits in the ground and then covered the pits with dung.
Little is known about silage making between about AD 100 and the eighteenth century, although it is likely that ensiling of forage crops continued to be practiced on a small scale throughout this period. According to Shukking (1976), grass was ensiled in Italy in the thirteenth century, and ensiling was practiced in the northern Alps, Sweden, and the Baltic region early in the eighteenth century. By the middle of the nineteenth century, interest in the ensiling of grass, sugarbeet tops (Beta vul- garis L.), and other crops had spread beyond the Baltic and Germany to most other European countries.
There's a small caveat here, which is that the authors of the article seem to file just about anything that's in a silo as silage. By contrast, I'm assuming you're meaning the sauerkraut version of hay that is used to feed livestock when they can't graze outdoors.
I've only skimmed the couple of pages that followed, but if I'm not mistaking this captures why it caught the interest of late 19th century farmers:
The initial enthusiasm for silage in the UK was reflected in the encouragement for the adoption of the technology from government, agricultural societies, and leading landowners, who recognized that the main advantage of silage was that it was less susceptible to total failure than either hay or root crops.
Put another way, before that they'd simply use plain hay, with all of its associated problems -- of which there are, apparently, many. (I'm no specialist by any stretch, so I'll direct you to the paper for the details.)
The paper doesn't say why it only spread like wildfire almost overnight in the late 19th (which it basically did) or why it did only then. One might speculate that hitherto benefits of a procedure known in the Baltic and Germany spread slowly in that area until, suddenly, the railroad came along and then it spread it far and wide. But that's just speculation.