Sugar beet pulp falls between a forage and a concentrate. Sugar beet is a root vegetable used as a source of sugar for human consumption. Once the sugar is removed, all that is left is the fiber and pulp. Molasses is then added before it is dried and shredded or pelleted. Sugar beet is similar in energy value to oats but the energy comes from digestible fiber and not from starch, so making it less ‘heating’.

Sugar beet shreds should be just covered in water and soaked for up to 12 hours. Cubes or pellets should be covered in 2-3 times as much water and soaked for up to 24 hours. Sugar beet should be freshly made up every day as it can ferment, especially in warm weather. Horses can be fed up to 1.8kg (4 lb) dry weight of beet pulp per day; this amounts to about four scoops of wet beet pulp. Unmolassed sugar beet pulp is now available, reducing the soluble carbohydrate level of the diet.

Horseman’s Comments: I personally do not favor feeding beet pulp. It does not replace or compare with regular feeding of bran mash, as some people believe. The soaked beet pulp may be of use instead of grain to horses during a prolonged stall rest, in which case I prefer to feed carrots. It can be also useful in replacing grains or mixing with reduced grains for horses that may be too temperamental or nervous during trail ride or performance. It can be also useful as an addition to hay cubes, there where hay is not available or too expensive. The beet pulp has been in the last decade very much over rated. I believe one should feed it only when it is truly needed. The beet pulp is known to choke horses if not soaked enough.

Nutritional value: crude protein 7%, crude fiber 34%, MJ DE/KG 10.5, 2.33 Mcals/kg


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