Beet Pulp; The SUPER FIBER!!

WHAT IS BEET PULP?

Beet pulp is a by product of the sugar beet plant with was traditionally grown as a garden plant and used as fodder for farm animals before it's use as the second leading source of sugar was discovered.  

After the sugars have been extracted, the fibrous portion of the plant is dehydrated and processed in to shreds, cubes or pelleted horse feed.

THE SUPER FIBER!

Beet pulp is a very fermentable fiber source that is highly digestible. Why it is considered a super fiber is due to its high energy levels when fermented. Beet pulp contains more energy then forages and just slightly lower than cereal grains like oats.    

              Digestibility: grass hay 40 - 60% digestible (varies depending on quality). 

                                : beet pulp 80% digestible.    

WHY IS BEET PULP SO BENEFICIAL?

Beet pulp can benefit many types of horses, from the underweight senior horse to the highest of athletes.   

  • Increased Fiber Intake: We all know fiber is the most important ingredient in our horses diet but in todays world there are many different reasons why our equines may not be getting the required daily fiber intake, ( dental problems, limited turn out, low quality hay, diets composed mainly of grains etc.) 
  • Sustainable Release of Energy: The majority of concentrates offer horses a quick release of energy and unless you know how and when this release will happen it is hard to ensure the energy will be used at the right time. This quick energy release can also result in a sugar crash which can last several hours and be detrimental on the horses digestive system. However, the energy from digesting beet pulp is generated slowly and does not cause a rapid rise in blood glucose. This process is great for horses traveling at moderate speeds over long distances such as cross country and stadium  jumpers, endurance horses and long distance runner etc.
  • Weight Gain: Because beet pulp is highly digestible, the horse has less gut fill and can actually consume more per day, so the feed intake and calorie intake can be further increased. This supports the weight gain theory that many horse owners follow.
  •  Hydration: Consumption of fiber is said to increase water intake, creating a holding tank of water and electrolytes in the hindgut. This can prevent dehydration during bouts of exercise.
  • Safe for Horses with Metabolic Health Problems: Some horses can not tolerate diets loaded with starch, beet pulp is a safe alternative feed for horses prone to laminitis and other metabolic conditions. 
  • Prebiotic: Beet pulp is beneficial to the millions of microbes in the horses hindgut and contributes to well-functioning microbiome and overall health. 

IS IT A MYTH OR REALITY?

        Statement 1: Beet pulp is safe for insulin resistant horses.

REALITY: Some find it odd that beet pulp, being a byproduct of a "sugar" beet would be safe for insulin resistant horses, which does seem odd when you think about it. However, through osmosis, sugar is extracted from the cossettes that are immersed in hot water. The beet pulp is squeezed, dried and formed into pellets. The water and sugar juice are saved, and this solution is called "raw juice" Now, with that said make sure to purchase beet pulp WITHOUT molasses.

        Statement 2: Beet pulp must be soaked.

MYTH:  Some believe that unsoaked beet pulp could swell in a horses throat or stomach and cause choke or colic. However, this belief is unfounded, although beet pulp does absorb liquid, it will not absorb saliva fast enough during chewing to expand in the esophagus and choking is more related to size and feeding behaviors. However, there is no harm in soaking beet pulp.

        Statement 3: Beet pulp can be fed as a stand alone fiber source.

MYTH: Beet pulp should never be the sole fiber source as it is low in protein, rich in calcium and devoid of vitamins and low in other minerals. While research reported in Nutrient Requirements of Horses, published by the National Research Council, showed that a diet consisting of 45-55% beet pulp has no negative effects. Adding a vitamin/mineral supplement or quality forage will ensure the required levels of nutrients needed are present in the horse's diet.

FEEDING

Beet pulp can be fed up to approx. 50% of the dietary forage as beep pulp (dry weight). For example a 1,200 lb. horse being fed 2% of his body weight in forage, you would feed 12 pounds of beet pulp per day.

SUMMARY

Beet Pulp is a safe and healthy feed option of our equine athletes. With many important benefits, makes for an easy choice when contemplating feed options. However, consulting with a veterinarian or equine nutritionist before adding any new feed to your horses diet will result in the best option for your partner.

Additional Information:

Can Beet Pulp Prevent Gastric Ulcers?

https://ker.com/equinews/gastric-ulcers-horses-beet-pulp-prevention/?highlight=beet%20pulp

References:

https://thehorse.com/18818/pros-and-cons-of-feeding-horses-beet-pulp/

https://ker.com/equinews/facts-super-fibre-sugar-beet-pulp/?highlight=beet%20pulp

 

 

 

 

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