Sugar beet (Beta vulgaris)

Sugar beet (Beta vulgaris)

Mostly  sugar beet  is  grown  for  commercial production though it sometimes given for animals. Because of its hardness, the beet should be pulped or chopped before feeding.

Nutritive value

Protein content  varies from  10-15% and TDN 55-

65%. Dry matter content ranges from 14-25%.

Deleterious factors

Sugar beet has a reputation for adversely affecting breeding capacity if fed to male stock. Wilted leaves and crowns can be fed to cattle and sheep, which relish them. Caution is necessary, however, as they may  cause scouring  because of  their  oxalic  acid content and contamination by soil. No more than 10 kg per day should be fed to cattle, and they should be mixed with hay. As oxalic acid binds the calcium in the diet, extra calcium has to be supplemented. The laxative effect of beet tops is not so pronounced in beet-top silage. Beet tops are easily ensiled both in trench silos and in stacks above the ground. The best results are obtained if the beet-top silage is fed together with lucerne hay. The ensiling of beet tops produces large amounts of seepage water (about 200 litres per ton) during the first few weeks; therefore, good drainage has to be provided.