Have you ever wondered what goes into your calf milk replacer and how it’s made?

Have you ever wondered what goes into your calf milk replacer and how it’s made?

As a British family-owned and operated dairy nutrition business, Volac has been at the heart of the UK and Irish dairy industry for over 50 years.

In that time Volac has developed into a highly trusted manufacturer within world agriculture and become integral to a highly sustainable, value-added national milk circle by buying local whey and supplying and supporting farmers.

  • About 20% of the milk produced by British dairy herds (from c. 300,000 dairy cows) goes for cheese manufacture.
  • Volac buys back approximately 1.1 billion litres a year of the whey which is produced by the cheese industry.
  • Volac contributes significantly in British cheese makers by buying back more than a billion litres of their whey co-product every year. That’s about half the whey produced by cheese manufacturers in England and Wales. Without this purchase many cheese manufacturers would potentially have to dispose of this valuable ingredient or send it over seas.
  • Volac turns this valuable whey into a concentrated milk protein called Imunopro®
  • Imunopro® forms the basis of Volac’s precision-formulated calf milk replacers, which allow British and Irish dairy farmers to rear the next generation of high performing milking cows highly effectively.

Imunopro® helps dairy farmers grow better cows more economically and sustainably. It sets calves up for a lifetime of productivity when they reach the adult milking herd. Fed correctly, following Volac milk formula feeding recommendations, this means healthier, faster growing calves; a younger age at first calving; and, ultimately, more milk produced per cow thanks to increased longevity in the herd.

We believe that dairy nutrition is critical to human health and well-being. This belief is reflected in Volac’s purpose: ‘Dairy Nutrition for a Healthier World’, which is delivered through our dairy products and the efforts we make to improve livestock productivity in a world of ever-increasing demands on resources.

Volac also believes that it must play an active role in creating a sustainable dairy industry through credible global leadership. Volac therefore works closely with various industry stakeholders to improve the economic, environmental and social aspects of dairy farming. Examples of this work includes leading the UK Dairy Productivity Collaboration, as well as participating internationally to help shape the future of food (e.g. Protein Challenge 2040 project) and the development of ‘future-fit animal feed’.

Making concentrated milk protein – not all whey is the same

At its factory in Wales, Volac processes three million litres of whey a day from milk produced on British farms – almost 50% of the total supply available in England and Wales. That’s 1.1 billion litres of British farmers’ whey processed annually.

But not all whey is the same. Volac’s Imunopro® is different in that it contains 35% concentrated milk protein. Liquid whey can be processed in a variety of ways to produce different types of whey, including whey powder, delactosed whey and concentrated whey protein (e.g. Imunopro®). These forms of whey all differ in both protein and lactose content. Whey powder, for example, only contains 12.5-13% protein, which is less than half the 35% protein that is in Imunopro®.

It is this concentrated milk protein that is so fundamental for young calf programming and healthy growth, which is why there is so much of it in colostrum. Indeed, cow colostrum contains more than three times the amount of concentrated milk protein found in whole milk. Essentially, this concentrated milk protein provides the important nutrients calves need for growth, primes their immune system, assists in pathogen control and shapes their development into productive adult cows.

Published on: 22 April 2020

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