Beet pulp is a low sugar, non starch fiber byproduct of the sugar industry and is available as a compressed and dried product, a “molassed” product, or most
commonly in balanced concentrate mixes. It has a higher water holding capacity than hay cubes and therefore may possibly soften the manure of
horses eating significant quantities.
Beet pulp is a readily digestible (about 85%) fiber but will vary in protein (7.8-11.5%) depending on the source. It provides more energy than alfalfa hay and is easier
to chew. Because beet pulp is high in calcium, rations supplemented with straight beet pulp need to be balanced with phosphorus. Foals or horses with known kidney
disease should be fed beet pulp only in a commercially mixed and balanced concentrate.
In summary, beet pulp is especially useful for older horses in poor condition, horses with serious dental issues, and for horses with liver disease, all of whom need
a readily digestible carbohydrate source. For most horse owners, beet pulp is best fed as the primary fiber source if it is in a balanced complete feed, although
it can be used in bulk to provide extra calories to add or maintain weight in conjunction with rice bran or edible oils. We do not usually recommend the “molassed” product
because of the added “sugar” component and it should especially be avoided in older horses with possible Cushing’s Syndrome and in growing horses.
We know of no scientific studies associating beet pulp with dental disease, but again, only a vitamin/mineral balanced beet pulp product should be used in developing foals
to avoid an inappropriate ration.