Feeding fodder beet to livestock has become an increasingly popular option for many farmers, with most lauding the benefits. Sugar beet is not only nutritious but is also very tasty to livestock.
Check out the guide on how much to feed your stock and the benefits of choosing fodder beet, below!
There are a range of benefits connected to feeding sugar beet to your stock.
Firstly, It is highly nutritious and full of energy. It is an excellent source of feed and can even replace roughage when fed at correct levels. It is much higher in energy than other concentrates, meaning it should be considered a “wet” concentrate.
It is though, lacking in proteins, calcium and phosphorous. This can make it potentially dangerous to stock and makes feeding management the more important.
But how much should you feed to your stock? How much is too much? Continue reading below to find out!
Guide to feeding Beet:
It is strongly advised, that when you are beginning to feed sugar beet to your stock, that you introduce it gradually. This is to ensure there are no digestive upsets or even fatalities, which can happen.
Teagasc recommends that you start off by feeding no more than 5kgs of chopped sugar beet per head per day. This can be increased by 5kgs per head every 3-4 days, until you reach a level you are satisfied with. Fodder should always be provided with sugar beet, especially straw when first introducing sugar beet.
It is essential to never overfeed sugar beet. Approximately 15kgs of chopped beet is the safe level for weanlings, while up to 25kgs with 1kgs of other concentrates is the highest dose to give to cattle between 500 to 600kgs.
For dairy cows, it is advised that no more than 12kgs of sugar beet be given to cattle. This is because higher levels of beet can cause a fishy taint in the milk, This can reduce cheese eye formation and is due to the betaine in beet.
In dry dairy cows, 10kgs of beet will make up just under 20% of the DM intake a dry cow should have. When feeding cattle, for finishing, with in excess of 14kgs of beet (10kgs in weanlings), then it is advised to feed it at two intervals in the day, or via a diet feeder, to prevent acidosis and ensure proper digestion of feed.
How To Prepare:
Before feeding out, beet should always be chopped. It is also desired to wash the beet, as unwashed beet can carry up to 18% of clay. Freshly harvested beet should be avoided, as it can cause poisoning in stock.
Sugar beet is a good source of energy for your stock, especially in winter. They can strive on a diet including beet, providing you follow the above instructions.
To read the Teagasc guide on feeding beet in full, click here.