Time to consider draff as supplement

A slow spring has reduced silage yields.
A slow spring has reduced 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.

She said: “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.

She 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.