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A local goat dairy has asked if I want their whey as feed for my pigs.

What is the feed value of whey and is anyone feeding it?

I'm trying to do a cost analysis of whether to use the whey. They would provide a 55 gallon drum of whey once a week - I would have to drive ten miles to pick it up. They would load the barrell on my truck with a tractor, but I'd have to bale it into smaller containers to unload it (I don't have a tractor). In return, they would like a pig at the end of the season.

I raise pigs seasonally so this would end up being 2200 gallons of whey in return for a 450 pound hog. Would you take/turn down the offer? Why?
 

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It's great feed, I was using it and one of the inspectors saw it and raised heck, If you can get it and not be inspected I see no problem, but feeding off farm dairy products without refrigeration isn't legal here, it's been done for years... but one day like today...near 92 at 10am it will stinkup a farm quick and cause complaints and whamo a new law. So let your sense of smell be your guide.
 

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Mark,

Whey is great pig food. We free feed about 700 gallons or so of whey per day to our herd in addition to the pasture in the warm months and hay in the winter. This makes for a good balanced diet. In the winter it is light on the calories so if you can add some more calories to it that will be good. We don't have any problem with smell but that may because we have our animals out on pasture and they eat so much carbon in the form of pasture/hay. If you can smell it, you're losing valuable fertilizer or feed.

As to feed value, see this which says it is better than corn:
http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/livestock/swine/facts/03-003.htm
Comparative Feed Values
Feed Item Dry Matter Kcal/Kg Protein % Lysine% Suggested max % Grower Sows Relative Value compared to Corn
Whey, liquid 7 3571 12.9 1.17 30 ? 140–150
Good quality protein; dry product can be expensive; feeding liquid whey increases manure volume by 2 to 3 times.

I suspect that our method of feeding a high fiber, high carbon diet with the dairy is an important key in getting things to work with the dairy. It produces superb meat and doesn't have the problems I've heard from people only feeding dairy such as soft fat.

Our pigs drink about three gallons or so of whey per hundred weight per day. This varies a little with what else we're feeding (e.g., cheese trim, fall veggies, hay, etc) how good the pasture which is a seasonal issue, etc.

The question is are they offering you a good deal - Interesting problem...

Put your own values in:
P = Piglet value = $75 (pick your cost)
D = Days to 450 lbs = 204 (ibid)
W = Whey consumption per day per hundred pounds of pig = 3 g/d/h
G = Gas cost at 10 miles per week each way = 10 x 2 x .2 = $4
X = Other costs to you for that pig = $25
H = Your time = whew, big factor and hugely variable.

Do the math. How much is the feed worth to you? Compare it to grain feeding - commercial or organic. Compare it with pure pastured if you have done that.

Then compare it all with the value of the 450 lb hog:

VW = Wholesale value of pig = 450 lb * 50% yield * 3.50 = $787.50
VR = Wholesale value of pig = 450 lb * 50% yield * 7.00 = $1,575.00

Plug in your own price per pound (e.g., $3.50 wholesale). Is that pig worth that feed? What other factors are there?

Have fun with the numbers and the pigs.

Cheers,

-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
in the mountains of Vermont
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/
http://HollyGraphicArt.com/
http://NoNAIS.org
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the great reply, Walter. That will get me started with the pencil acrobatics.

Mark
 

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If I could get it I sure would feed it. Makes great hog feed
 

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I would feed it but watch the salt intake. I believe whey is a bit salty for pigs so be sure that the pigs have access to other feed at all times. I would also consider cutting salt out of the rest of the ration if you can.
 

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Walter - that cost calculator might just be the world's best post. We have a goat micro-dairy and are just about to get our first whey eating pigs. I could not be more excited.
 

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Wow...and here I thought that the best stuff came out in the cheese, leaving not much more than milky looking water! Glad to know otherwise!
 

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My question is if i keep it in a 55 gallon drum outside with the daytime high being around 80 degrees how long will the whey stay good for?
 

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Whey lasts well. Our temperatures tend to be around the 70's in the summer with peaks of 86°F. The whey tends to be about 50°F when we get it and it doesn't rise much in temperature before we use it up. On rare occasions I've had a barrel (50g) or pail (5g) of whey sit for days to weeks. It clabbers a bit but is still of interest to the pigs and chickens. I've never had it go bad. It is pretty acidic and has some salt in it.

We use about 2,000 gallons a day +/-1,000 gallons depending on supply, season, the number of pigs and ages. We use 1,000 gallon tanks. Adding yogurt to the tanks improves digestibility, feed value, is a probiotic and reduces mold & bad bacteria.

For some of our experience feeding whey over the last decade see:

http://www.google.com/search?q=site:sugarmtnfarm.com+whey

Short answer: put the barrel in the shade and in contact with the soil for coolth and I would expect it to stay okay for a week or longer. Stir in a quart of yogurt and it may last a lot longer and will be improved.
 

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Ok, sorry for my ignorance; but is "whey" the liquid left over when making cheese?
 
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