Shredded Beet Pulp: Superior Source of Fiber & Calories In Equine Diets
Shredded Beet Pulp for Your Horse? Of Course!
What Is Beet Pulp?
Beet pulp is the fiber portion of sugar beet. Sugar beets, which look like large turnips, are washed, shredded like waffle fries, and then cooked to remove the sugar portion of the plant. What is left is a non-sugary, high fiber, highly digestible byproduct. The beet pulp is then dehydrated, pelleted and used as a source of high fiber for commercial feed. A relatively small amount gets dehydrated, but not pelleted. This is the shredded beet pulp that is becoming more popular with horse owners.
Triple Crown Nutrition was the first feed company to incorporate shredded beet pulp into its formulas, outside of the racing industry, when it introduced Triple Crown Senior. Since then, Triple Crown expanded its product line of beet pulp-based feeds to include Complete and Growth. It also uses beet pulp in two pelleted feeds, Low Starch and its newest product, TLC-Total Lifetime Care.
Why Use Shredded Beet Pulp?
Shredded beet pulp is a great ingredient for a number of reasons. First, the fiber content is very low in lignin, which is hard for horses to digest. It also increases the calorie content to about the same as oats or about a third higher than grass hay. In addition, the longer fiber length of shredded beet pulp makes the particle size closer to what is desired for horses, making it a better alternative over pelleted fibers. Furthermore, the starch and sugar content (NSC) is very low—about 12%.
Types Of Shredded Beet Pulp:
There are two types of shredded beet pulp: with molasses and without. Beet molasses is created during the sugar removal process; however, there is no commercial market for the product. Some companies add a small amount of this molasses back into their bagged product. It is such a small amount that the two products look identical and have essentially the same NSC values.
The Challenges Of Shredded Beet Pulp:
Along with the many benefits, shredded beet pulp has some inherent problems. First, the particle size can be a bit erratic; sometimes appearing fine and other times containing larger quarter-sized particles. With limited screening processes during manufacturing, it may also contain some roots and stems which look like little pieces of wood. Triple Crown uses beet pulp that is screened at higher levels which removes many of these issues.
In addition, beet pulp is not balanced for mineral content, specifically selenium. Fortunately, Triple Crown can compensate for these deficiencies by adding minerals to its feed to provide a balanced ration. Lastly, beet pulp is a very dry ingredient so it absorbs a great deal of water. While it is a myth that beet pulp can swell and rupture the intestines of a horse, beet pulp requires soaking before it can be fed to horses to prevent choke and the risk of colic. Beet pulp-based feeds do not pose the same challenges as feeding straight beet pulp; however, wetting and feeding in a pan on the ground versus a bucket on the wall is still recommended for older horses with poor or missing teeth or horses prone to choke.
Triple Crown can meet your beet pulp needs
Shredded beet pulp is growing in popularity for horse owners looking for a cost-effective source of fiber that is easily digestible. If you are adding beet pulp to your horse’s diet, consider using a Triple Crown beet pulp-based feed. These feeds can provide the benefits of beet pulp with balanced nutrition at the same daily feeding cost, without the hassle.