Competition for Distillery Co-Products a Concern for Livestock Producers

SCOTLAND, UK - A report into the future availability and value of distillery co-products to the Scottish livestock sector has shown that short and long-term issues are having an impact on supplies at a local level.
calendar icon 6 November 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

National Farmers' Union (NFU) Scotland had previously written to Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead to voice membership concerns that at a significant number of Scottish distilleries and associated sites, bioenergy plants are in place or are planned. These use, or will use products from the distilling process to generate energy rather than be available as a valued livestock feed.

Of more immediate concern to some producers close to distillery sites is that market demand is seeing locally produced product moving significant distances to other farmers, leaving local supplies tight.

A report on Distillery by-products, prepared by SAC Consulting was discussed at a special meeting of the Agriculture and Climate Change stakeholders in Edinburgh last week.

The report recognised the importance of by-products, such as draff, as a feed and its importance to livestock farmers. It acknowledged that nationally supplies are likely to be plentiful in the future but that around certain plants, supply and demand requires better co-ordination.

NFU Scotland President, Nigel Miller said: “Distillery by-products are a valuable feed source to livestock farmers around Scotland but particularly in the North East, Highlands and Islands. It is vital to the future of livestock production that we retain the advantages of having quality by-products from our growing drinks sector.

“The availability of a local source of quality energy and protein feed underpins the production of Scotch beef in many areas and this traditional collaboration between local distilleries and the farming community has added real value to the rural economy.

“However, demand is always open to fluctuations and systems within the whisky and distilling industries are changing fast. This report makes a valuable contribution to that debate.

“We need to work with Scottish Government, distilleries, merchants and affected members to see what measures can be put in place to mitigate any local disruption to supplies of these valuable feed sources and secure adequate supplies in the future. That may involve farmers working together to co-ordinate buying, helping availability to better match demand, particularly during the peaks and troughs.

“Having suitable on-farm storage for distillery by-products may also assist but that may require investment on farm. Ensuring that investment in such stores qualify for support through the Rural Priorities scheme could help keep these valuable feed supply chains open.”

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