Draff is a by-product of malt whisky production and comes from the first stage where malted barley is steeped in hot water to extract soluble sugars. The resulting liquid or ‘wort’ is drained to be used for making whisky, leaving a residue which is known as distillers’ malt Draff. It’s a moist feed which is very palatable and provides a good source of digestible fibre and protein. A useful forage extender it can also be fed as a concentrate feed or as part of a total mixed ration (TMR).
“We’ve been feeding Draff on the farm for at least 28 years,” explains Alasdair. He sources the Draff from ForFarmers and feeds it together with grass silage and minerals, accounting for 50% of the ration for breeding stock and less (plus addition of barley and cake) for finishing cattle.
Alasdair stores his Draff underneath silage in a pit. “It helps it keep fresher for longer,” he says. Ordering well in advance he says he prioritises budget for Draff – particularly so this year as he approaches winter with less forage than usual.
“I’d planned to start using slurry on the farm this year,” Alasdair explains. However delays with grant applications for the necessary slurry storage and dribble bar meant that wasn’t possible. “With fertiliser prices as they are I haven’t applied as much to the fields as I usually would. Next year is a worry,” he says. “We are having to cut costs and reduce livestock numbers too.
“Draff is the cheapest and best option for us here – we really couldn’t do without it.”