Denkamilk calves, General - 9 November 2021

To be less dependent on dairy raw materials as a protein source, vegetable ingredients offer a sustainable solution for inclusion in calf milk replacers. However, what’s the impact of including hydrolyzed wheat in the milk replacer on the performance of the calves? In this article, we discuss the results from our research utilizing hydrolyzed wheat as a vegetable protein source.

Vegetable protein sources

It is possible to achieve excellent growth results with a high degree of safety while using vegetable protein. It’s important to include varying levels of vegetable protein with a balanced amino acid profile and high digestibility.  A pre-treatment is essential for the maximal digestibility of these vegetable proteins. Therefore hydrolyzed wheat protein, soy protein concentrate and extruded pea protein are ideally suited protein sources when properly sourced and treated.


Before a new protein source can be included in a milk replacer, it is first tested through practical on-farm application at our DenkaFarm Innovation Centre. At this research facility, we can measure very extensively. We can measure the digestibility, various feeding styles & volumes, multiple inclusion levels with different formulas, and general health and performance parameters.

More about our trial set-up

Denkavit recently presented one of the studies performed at the DenkaFarm Innovation Center at the 41st Annual ADSA Discover Conference in Chicago, IL. In the study, we looked at the effect of replacing part of the dairy proteins with hydrolyzed wheat protein. With a focus on how that impacted growth performance, digestion efficiency, and health of pre-weaned dairy calves.


As seen in the tables and figures below, there was no difference in measured growth and health parameters. These results conclude that hydrolyzed wheat protein can successfully replace dairy proteins in milk replacers without hindering calf performance.

Average daily gain (g/d)

Feed efficiency (CMR-eq/kg growth)

Health performance


The dairy ingredient market is more volatile than ever before. This can lead to drastic increases in milk replacer prices. Having an economical alternative, like hydrolyzed wheat protein, that will not hinder performance is essential.

Want to read more about vegetable protein sources in calf milk replacers?  Click here