Feed value of whey

Producer Question from 2010

Q:  How much feed value does whey from a cheese factory have for livestock? (January 18, 2010)

A:  Whey can be fed to cattle and works quite well. The energy value is probably similar to corn or a bit less on a DM basis. If this is condensed whey (i.e, 50% DM or so), then the feeding will be a bit better in terms of energy than dried whey. However, the dried product is easier to handle. Condensed whey is routinely used in liquid supplements for beef and dairy cattle. I think the producer could feed levels as high as 10% of the diet or up to 2 lb of DM each day. Whey would work very well in backgrounding calf diets, particularly the wet product in dry or dusty diets. This product could be fed to cows as an energy supplement (particularly in dry conditions). The non-fat dried milk worked similar to weigh for beef producers to use the last few years. I would get an analysis of this feed as the producer gets it, but in general, it should be 13 to 15% protein based on previous table values that I have. The protein is presumably all used in the rumen (DIP or degradable by the microbes, similar to urea). The TDN or net energy of the whey is approximately 80 to 90% of corn. Whey is a great source of Ca and is high in P, and some other minerals. The Ca is between 1 and 1.7% and P is generally between 0.6 and 1%. (Based on table values which is always a bit risky).

Dr. Galen EricksonDr. Galen Erickson, Associate Professor of Animal Science
Animal Science, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska