addon_ Beet Pulp Pellets for Cattle and Horse Feeding ( You can download this document in PDF)

Sugar Beet Growing Areas

Sugar beet is cultivated world-wide, but primarily in moderate to temperate climates with sufficient rainfall. In the Northern hemisphere the growers are Europe (including Russia), USA, Canada, China, and Japan. In the Southern hemisphere the only grower is Chile. Today’s sugar beets have a sucrose content of approx. 15 – 20 % depending on climate, soil type, variety and cultivation methods.

sugar beets

The worldwide growing area for sugar beet is about 7.5 million hectares and the annual production of sugar beets is about 225 million tons. The leading producing European countries are France, Germany, United Kingdom and Russia. Only about 20-22% of all sugar produced worldwide is from sugar beets, with the majority originating from sugarcane.

What is Beet Pulp? Beet pulp is what is left of a sugar beet after it has been pressed to remove the moisture. The resulting liquid is processed to make sugar, and the leftover pulp is shredded or pelleted and used for livestock and is an ingredient in cat and dog food. Sugar beets don’t look like the common garden beet, but like very large, lumpy white radish. Beet pulp for horses is sometimes mixed with molasses so it tastes better.

How Do You Feed Horses Beet Pulp?

beet pulp and pellets

It is recommended to soak dehydrated beet pulp prior to feeding to reduce the chance of choke in your horse as well as to make it more palatable. Feeding soaked beet pulp is also a good way to increase water intake during the winter which can be a cold weather concern for some horse owners. (Water intake can actually increase in the winter if your horse goes from a water-rich pasture grass summer diet to a dried forage winter diet.)

Soaking beet pulp is simple. Place the shreds or pellets in a bucket and add twice as much water as beet pulp. Either cool or warm water can be used although it may absorb warm water more quickly. (Use warm water to feed it instead of bran mash in the winter months. Nutritionally it is a better choice than wheat bran as it is a more balanced feed stuff). Never use hot water though as that will actually cook the beet pulp and destroy most of the nutrients in it. When ready, the beet pulp will have soaked up all of the water, increased in volume to fill the bucket, and be light and fluffy in consistency. This could take as little as 30 minutes or up to a couple of hours to accomplish. It is best to make up beet pulp in single feeding batches as soaked beet pulp tends to ferment. Generally, soaked beet pulp will keep for up to 24 hours.beet pulp pellets

Molasses Beet Pulp Pellets

Beet pulp pellets are formed from dried sugar beet pulp. Typically, molasses is added during the drying process. The primary advantage of pelletizing over pressed pulp is ease of handling. Pelletizing also facilitates transportation and offers the opportunity for stable long-term storage. The ability to easily transport and store pellets allows for a consistent feeding program throughout the year. Beet pulp is a relatively inexpensive feed that is readily available throughout most of the Midwest. It can provide a consistent, cost effective forage alternative giving you options when it comes to extending your hay supply. As you consider incorporating beet pulp into your horse’s feeding program keep in mind that it is not balanced in vitamins and minerals and those short falls must be provided by other ingredients in your horse’s total diet.

Nutritionally, molasses beet pulp pellets have the roughage properties of chopped hay and the high energy characteristics of corn. This feature makes molasses beet pulp pellets a valuable feed for cattle feeders, dairies, and lamb feeding operations.

Typically, molasses beet pulp pellets contain 3% molasses on a dry matter basis. Pellets are dried to 11% moisture and weigh 42 pounds per cubic foot. They are 5/16” in diameter and approximately one inch long.

Nutritional Characteristics of Molasses Beet Pulp Pellets

Ingredient Component Dry Matter % (as fed)
Crude Protein
Crude Fat
Crude Fiber
Ruminant TDN
Net Energy – Maintenance
0.86 MCal/lb
Net Energy – Gain
0.57 MCal/lb

Use and Application:
In growing and finishing diets, Beet Pulp pellets can replace corn silage or other forages. For stock cows, they can fill energy requirements and stretch home grown forage supplies. In dairy rations, Beet Pulp offers excellent source of structural carbohydrates, lowers the potential for rumen acidosis and improves butter-fat test.

Storage and Handling: Beet Pulp Pellets can be stored by unloading on a cement slab, preferably covered, or they can be stored in conventional hopper bottom bins. They can be transferred in hopper, end-dump or live bottom trucks. Feeding and handling will depend on the method of storing and the feeding systems available but they can be easily handled in traditional automated systems or front-end loader mixer wagon combinations.