Thehorse.com - Full Article
By Clair Thunes, PhD
Jan 15, 2018
Q. Last week in your article about helping horses stay warm in winter you mentioned feeding sugar beet pulp to horses in need of extra calories from a forage source. It doesn’t seem like that would be a good choice for a lot of horses. Isn’t sugar beet pulp high in sugar?
A. The name certainly implies that this common equine feed ingredient is high in sugar. However, you might be surprised to learn that by the time it makes it to your horse’s feed bucket sugar beet pulp, in most cases, is actually very low in sugar.
Sugar beets are a root crop with a high concentration of sucrose sugar (think table sugar) grown commercially for sugar production. According to the American Sugarbeet Growers Association, sugar beets are grown in many Western and Northern states. The sugar beet is about a foot long and weighs between 2 to 5 pounds. With a sucrose content of about 18%, sugar beets make up a little over 50% of the domestically produced sugar.
However, we’re not feeding horses whole beets. Rather we feed what‘s left after manufacturers have extracted sugar for human use. What’s left is referred to sugar beet pulp and is a source of fermentable fibrous material that requires microbial fermentation in the horse’s hindgut. Sugar beet pulp is used extensively in livestock feed and, for horses, is sold as an ingredient in commercial feeds or separately as shreds or pellets...
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