Value Added Opportunities from the Manufacture and Feeding of Silages Produced from Liquid Cheese Whey and Other By-products to Growing and Finishing Cattle and Beef Cows

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2001: $59,777.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2004
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $20,758.00
Region: Western
State: Utah
Principal Investigator:
Dale Zobel
ADVS Dept., Utah State University

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: barley, corn, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Animals: bovine
  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Animal Production: feed/forage, feed formulation, feed rations, stockpiled forages, winter forage
  • Crop Production: foliar feeding, nutrient cycling, application rate management, tissue analysis
  • Education and Training: demonstration, display, extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, agricultural finance, value added
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, soil stabilization
  • Production Systems: integrated crop and livestock systems
  • Soil Management: organic matter, soil analysis
  • Sustainable Communities: partnerships, public participation, sustainability measures


    Eight studies were conducted to evaluate the effect of feeding whey silage on production and digestibility characteristics of growing and finishing cattle and beef cows. Whey silage was produced by combining cereal grain straw, wheat middlings and liquid whey. Growing cattle and beef cow ration costs were decreased significantly without affecting performance or feed digestibility when whey silage was the main or sole roughage source. There was no benefit for feeding whey silage to finishing cattle. These studies confirm that there are value-added opportunities for the use of these residue feeds for beef cattle.

    Project objectives:

    1. Determine production and carcass characteristics of growing and finishing cattle and beef cows under maintenance conditions fed ensiled products that were derived from combining "sweet" or "acid" liquid whey, low-quality roughage sources and a concentrate source.
    2. Determine nutrient content of these derived silage products.
    3. Evaluate economics of production for whey silage compared to traditional corn silage-based diets and for cattle fed these silages.
    4. Disseminate research results derived from these studies to beef producers, extension and industry personnel in the Intermountain West.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.