SRUC Suggests Draff As A Supplement Due To Slow Springs Low Silage Yields

Scotland’s Rural College suggests farmers whose first cut of silage had been less than expected should consider ensiling draff, a valuable residue from the whisky making process, to boost winter feed supplies.
Although April was warm and the spring promising May was cold and, so far, June has been unsettled. It means many livestock farmers have less grass than expected and lower yields of first cut silage.
According to nutritionist Karen Stewart, from the Perth Office of SAC Consulting (part of SRUC) the silage pits on many farms will have less feed for the winter than normal.
“Fortunately this coincides with a reasonably cheap and plentiful supply of draff with many loads currently going south of the border as far as the midlands. There is an opportunity for Scottish farmers to use this draff, or in some areas Brewers Grains from beer making, to help ensure they have sufficient feed available for next winter.”
It is often the case that low yields from first cut silage have the knock on affect of encouraging farmers to produce bigger second cuts of silage which in turn reduce the amount of summer grazing available. Karen believes acting now and ensiling Draff along with silage could help ease the demand on grazing and reduce any risk to the future performance of grazing stock.
“Draff has a higher energy and crude protein than average silage,” she says. “It will add nutritional value to winter feed supplies. Typically ensiling draff in the summer offers a discount of £6-10/t versus buying in the winter on a “ready to feed basis”.
According to SAC Consulting recommendations draff is normally ensiled in a layer of around 1metre at the bottom of the pit which ensures good consolidation and excludes air. There will be small losses in effluent but these will be low compared to the nutrient losses when draff is not sufficiently compacted.
Karen Stewart suggests interested farmers should contact draff suppliers as soon as possible if they want to co ordinate a timely delivery of draff within a day or at the most two of making their silage. Technical advice is available from all SAC Consulting offices.
“If first cut silage has already been made, draff can still be ensiled alone or with a starch source such as processed bread,” says Karen. “Alternatively an energy/digestible fibre source such as potatoes, sugar beet or soya hulls can be used. All these products enhance the feed value of draff, reduce effluent and will ensure sufficient good quality feed is available for feeding stock this winter.”