In today’s article, we show you all the qualities of using whey in animal feed. We want to bring you the scientific arguments that point to the advantages of this supplementation.
As always, this will be a very light article. After all, as we’ve shown before, our goal is to bring information, but without bringing extreme technicalities.
Come take a closer look at how whey can be used in animal feed and what are the elements that involve this choice.
Get comfortable and enjoy the reading!
Using Whey as a Dairy Feed
We often receive inquiries about the possibility of using whey in calf feed. In many regions of the country where cheese production is most intense, there is usually an abundance of this product.
It’s because of this that many producers express the desire to use it, if possible, as a substitute for milk.
First of all, it should be noted that total milk replacement with whey is impossible. Although whey is derived from milk, its composition is completely different, and it’s not suitable for proper nutrition of nursing calves.
However, it is perfect for supplementing feed.
One difference is that whey has virtually no fat (0.8% of dry matter), yet it has high energy value. This energy comes from a high concentration of lactose (65-70% of dry matter), the milk carbohydrate.
Due to this high digestibility of its protein, dried whey is often concentrated in various forms by more sophisticated processes (whey lactose or whey protein concentrate 35-70% crude protein), which allows its use mainly in the formulation of good quality milk replacers.
Whey Quality Aspects in Animal Feed
Several studies have shown that the inclusion of whey improves performance in piglets weaned between the third and fourth week of life.
A diet formulated with 20% dried whey showed better dry matter and energy digestibility than a corn and soy-based diet.
The components of whey that give it this better nutritional characteristic can be grouped into:
Protein fraction: the lactalbumin and lactoglobulin; immunoglobulins; BSA (bovine serum albumin) and other components such as lactoferrin, enzymes, growth factors, glycomacropeptides and other peptides.
The performance of piglets fed a corn and soy-based diet (control) with piglets supplemented with 20% whey.
These authors also formulated diets with some whey components (taking into account the amount of these components in 20% whey): lactose, lactalbumin and the addition of both.
Compared to the control diet, diets with whey or whey fractions showed better performance and digestibility, leading to the conclusion that these components are responsible (at least in part) for the positive effects of including whey in diets.
Incredible advantages of whey in animal nutrition
The main advantages of using whey in animal feed are:
- It is a highly nutritious feed, with protein digestibility superior to that of corn and soybean meal
- It has high palatability, being voluntarily consumed in large quantities
- There may be an improvement in carcass quality with the use of whey, provided it is fed with properly balanced diets
A substantial reduction in feed costs may occur with the use of whey, depending on the means of transport used, the distance between the farm and the dairy, and the amount of whey transported.
Now you know all the details surrounding the supplementation of animals with whey and related products.
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