Does it matter which whey to use in piglet feeds?

Animal Nutrition Views

Ioannis Mavromichalis, Ph.D., gives his views on poultry, pig and dairy nutrition based on his experience as a nutrition consultant with clients around the world.

Does it matter which whey to use in piglet feeds?

One of the first things I learned when I started as a nutritionist in a brand that specialized in piglet feeds was that quality of raw materials is king. And, among them, it is whey that can make or break any piglet feed. You will agree, I hope, that the quality among the many commercial whey products varies considerably and with it varies its price.

When prices go up, we’re all inclined to find a cheaper source for any ingredient, especially in piglet formulas, where margins are always super-thin. But, there is a line we should not cross, as pigs will respond by simply refusing to eat sub-optimal diets. And, here comes the case of whey, which plays a central role in many piglet diets — at least it does in my products and those I design for other piglet feed manufacturers.

In the photo at the top of this page are three samples of commercial whey products. In my opinion, only the pale, off-cream product is worthy of high quality diets. As demonstrated in Table 1, piglets also agree with this assessment. I would never use the darker one, and I would keep the middle product only for low-cost formulas — as the saying goes: you get what you pay for.piglet feed intake preference on whey

Overheated whey reduces piglet performance.

Another frequent controversy regarding whey is the choice between sweet or acid whey. But, that’s another story!