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Do You Have To Soak Beet Pulp Pellets? (SOLVED)

A 😊 Beet pulp has long been a mainstay in many feed rooms, especially during the winter months 😊 People often incorrectly think of it as a concentrate because in many cases it had is fed instead of or alongside grain; however, in reality, it is actually a forage. Relatively high in hemicellulose, a fermentable fiber, beet pulp digestion relies on microbial fermentation in the hindgut. This makes it a feed closer to pasture and hay than traditional concentrates such as oats, which are high in starch and require enzymatic digestion in the small intestine. Yet, when it comes to the calories supplied per pound it compares more closely to oats than hay. This is what makes it such a good choice for hard-keeping horses. [1]
“The molasses application rate is typically less than 5% and is added to increase the palatability of the beet pulp shreds while reducing dust content,” Vineyard says. “The addition of molasses will increase the overall sugar content of the beet pulp by only approximately 2%; therefore, adding the molasses does not result in a great increase in overall sugar intake. Adding molasses to dried beet pulp shreds increases the palatability and helps to stimulate saliva production when the horse consumes it, which makes it a good choice for picky eaters. However, if a horse has true sugar/starch sensitivities, the nonmolassed variety of beet pulp would be a better choice.” (revised by Crystalyn Putnam on November 20, 2020) [2]
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Shari Burris from thehorse.com give further insight. A. Beet pulp can be an excellent way to help maintain weight on harder-keeping horses during the winter, when hay or pasture alone aren’t adequate. Beet pulp is what is left after sugar is removed from sugar beets, and it’s a great source of highly digestible fiber that must be fermented in the hindgut. This, combined with its low starch and sugar content and the fact that its energy content is somewhat higher than other forages (although lower than most grains), makes it a good option. In fact, you can feed beet pulp as up to almost half a horse’s daily forage intake. (modified by Ann S. From Oujda, Morocco on September 26, 2021) [3]
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As you know, sugar beet is a very popular fibre source for horses around the world. Beet is widely available in pelleted form, shreds, and micronized flakes. Most companies selling beet as a fibre source recommend soaking before feeding, especially if the products are in pellet or flake form. We also agree that when feeding beet as a fibre source, soaking is a good idea to enhance palatability and increase water intake. However, it does not have to be soaked and there are many people feeding up to 1 lb (500 g) plus dry feed per day without soaking. If a horse has a tendency to eat rapidly, or is at risk of choke, then of course we recommend soaking beet pellets or flakes before feeding. [4]
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“The main role of beet pulp in a horse’s diet is fiber, just as with hay,” says Pennsylvania State University equine nutritionist Burt Staniar, PhD. “But the beet pulp fiber is not the same as the fiber in hay. It’s much more easily digested, so it’s processed faster. We don’t think of fiber as providing much energy—and in the human diet it doesn’t—but in horses it’s a significant source of energy. Because the fiber in beet pulp is digested quickly, the energy and the calories it provides are available to a horse much faster than those that would come from hay.” [5]
Rochell Gold from succeed-equine.com offers us with additional insight. Beet pulp, a complex carbohydrate that is fermented in the hindgut, is often referred to as a “super fiber,” thanks to its high digestibility and low lignin count. (Lignin is what gives stalky, over-mature hay its structure and makes it harder for horses to digest.) It’s an excellent source of digestible fiber and has a similar calorie content as oats — but with fewer starches and sometimes sugars, which can cause problems if they reach the hindgut undigested. That absence of starch and sugars makes beet pulp a good choice for hard-keeping horses. Nutritionally, beet pulp is a more natural source of concentrated energy. It’s nutritional qualities compare to good-quality grass hay and it’s an easily digestible supplement to your horse’s roughage intake. (modified by Amanda G. From Malatya, Turkey on July 12, 2020) [6]
Beet pulp can definitely go bad. Soaked beet pulp will only be good for up to 24 hours if you store it covered and in a cool environment. You cannot leave it out in the heat for too long or it will spoil. Always check any beet pulp that you have soaked before you feed it to your horse. If it smells moldy or has a fermented smell to it, throw it out. It should not be fed if it is bad. Opened bags of beet pulp can go bad if moisture gets into them, especially if it is hot outside. It is best to store any opened, dry beet pulp in a cool and moisture-free environment to prevent molding. (last edited 80 days ago by Jamika Begay from Bazhong, China) [7]

Article References

  1. https://thehorse.com/18818/pros-and-cons-of-feeding-horses-beet-pulp/
  2. https://thehorse.com/148325/beet-pulp-faqs/
  3. https://thehorse.com/181856/how-to-soak-beet-pulp-for-horses/
  4. https://ker.com/equinews/answer/soaking-beet-pulp/
  5. https://equusmagazine.com/horse-care/feeding-beet-pulp-26851
  6. https://www.succeed-equine.com/succeed-blog/2014/08/04/mm-37-feeding-horses-dry-beet-pulp-will-cause-choke-worse/
  7. https://www.helpfulhorsehints.com/beet-pulp-for-horses/
Kelly-Anne Kidston

Written by Kelly-Anne Kidston

I am a writer of many words, from fiction to poetry to reviews. I am an avid reader and a lover of good books. I am currently writing my first novel and would love to find some beta readers who are interested in getting an early look.

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