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Use of Whey Solids in Calf Feeding

Authors: J.A. Stewart, L.L. Muller and A.T. Griffin


Hydrochloric (HC1) acid casein whey was treated by ultrafiltration to increase the ratios of protein to lactose and minerals. The resulting liquid whey protein concentrate (WPC) or a spray dried WPC from Cheddar cheese whey was incorporated into calf milk replacer(s) (CMR) to give a final composition of about 24% protein, 18% fat (as tallow), 7-11% ash and 47-51% lactose. The proportion of the protein in the CMR provided by WPC was varied from 35% to 100%, the remainder coming from skim milk or buttermilk.

At the Ellinbank Dairy Research Station, Friesian bull calves from about 4-5 days old were fed the experimental CMR and their performance compared with matched calves fed CMR based solely on skim milk which was either of similar gross composition or contained about 35% protein, 18% fat (as tallow), 7% ash and 40% lactose.

Within each of four experiments there were no significant differences (P>0.05) amongst CMR in faecal index or liveweight gain to weaning. There was no evidence of anaphylactic shock.

On 16 dairy farms, 220 heifer calves were fed either a control ration of the farmer's choice or an experimental CMR in which 50% of the non-fat-solids and 35% of the protein came from ultrafiltered HC1 casein whey. The experimental CMR compared favourably.

It is concluded that WPC of appropriate protein content may be substituted for skim milk or buttermilk in a high fat (18%) CMR.

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