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Sugar beet pulp, dehydrated


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Common names 

Sugar beet, sugarbeet [English]; remolacha azucarera [Spanish]; betterave sucrière [French]; beterraba-sacarina [Portuguese]; suikerbeet, beetwortel [Afrikaans]; Sukkerroe [Danish]; suikerbiet [Dutch]; Zuckerrübe [German]; barbabietola da zucchero [Italian]; şeker pancarı [Turkish]; củ cải đường [Vietnamese]; شمندر سكري [Arabic]; 糖用甜菜 [Chinese]; סלק סוכר [Hebrew]; テンサイ [Japanese]; 사탕무 [Korean]; Сахарная свёкла [Russian]

Sugar beet pulp can be found in different forms and have different names:

  • wet sugar beet pulp, wet sugarbeet pulp, wet beet pulp [English]; pulpe de betteraves fraîches [French]; pulpa de remolacha en fresco [Spanish]
  • pressed sugar beet pulp, pressed sugarbeet pulp, pressed beet pulp [English]; pulpe de betterave surpressée [French]; pulpa de remolacha prensada [Spanish] 

These products are fully described in the Sugar beet pulp, pressed or wet datasheet.

  • dehydrated beet pulp, dehydrated sugar beet pulp, dehydrated sugarbeet pulp [English]; pulpe de betteraves déshydratée [French]; pulpa de remolacha deshidratada [Spanish]

This product is described in this datasheet.


Sugarbeet pulp is the fibrous, energy rich by-product resulting from the water extraction of sugar contained in the root of the sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris L.). Sugarbeet pulp is relished by all classes of farm animals (ruminants, pigs, poultry, rabbits and also horses) and much valued by farmers. It has outstanding feeding value gathering qualities of both chopped hay (for fibre) and maize (for energy content) (CNC, 2012; Crawshaw, 2004). However, it should be noted that sugarbeet pulp results from various processes and may have variable quality.

In the world, 86% of sugarbeet roots are processed into sugar and yield sugar beet pulp (FAO, 2017). It has been reported that 1 ton of sugar beets yields approximately 150 kg of sugar and 50 kg of dehydrated sugar beet pulp (Legrand, 2015).

Dehydrated sugar beet pulp is often found in the form of pellets that have been granulated, sometimes by using molasses as binding agent. Dehydrated sugar beet pulp that contains molasses is called molassed sugar beet pulp or molassed beet pulp pellets (Western Sugar, 2015; Nordzucker, 2017). If dehydrated sugar beet pulp does not contain molasses it can be referred to as molasses-free sugar beet pulp (Nordzucker, 2017). In France, however, dried sugar beet pulp is mostly molasses-free.

During sugar production (see figure above), the beets are first cleaned and shredded into cossettes, from which the juice is extracted by using hot water (60-70°C). The juice is then processed such as that of sugar cane, yielding sugar and beet molasses. After juice extraction the sugarbeet extracted fibrous material, that mostly consists of sugarbeet cell wall and about 2-4% sugar, is the sugar beet pulp. It can be used in many ways. In order to produce dehydrated sugar beet pulp, the pulp is first pressed to extract residual sugar and water and then dehydrated in a drum dryer (down to 11% moisture) and pelletized (with possible addition of molasses as binding agent) for better preservation. The final product is dehydrated sugarbeet pulp, a much relished feed for most livestock animals that has long shelf-life and is easy to transport and to store. Dehydrated sugar beet pulp complies with year-round feeding programmes (Western Sugar, 2015; Désialis, 2016).


Sugarbeet ranks second behind sugarcane (269 million t vs. 1.88 billion t in 2013) for the provision of sugar. Assuming the fact that 1 ton of sugar beet root yields approximately 500 kg of pulp, wet beet pulp could virtually be about 117 million tons worldwide. However, all beet pulp is not used as wet or pressed beet pulp. Large amounts of these products are dried. In France, in 2002-2003, wet beet pulp represented less than 2.5% of total beet pulp while pressed beet pulp accounted for about 23% and dehydrated beet for 74.5%. 

In 2013, the main sugar producers produced 76% of worldwide beet sugar and hence the same percentage of beet pulp. They were Russia (35 million t), the USA (29), France (28), Germany (23), Turkey (16) and Poland (11) followed by Egypt (10), the UK (8), Ukraine (7) and China (6) (FAO, 2017). The five largest producing countries of dehydrated sugarbeet pulp were France, Germany, Russia, the USA and Egypt, together producing 66%, i.e. approximately 5 million t, of all global dried sugar beet pulp. Dehydrated sugarbeet pulp plays an important role in these countries but is also traded worldwide (Beef and Feed, 2017).

Environmental impact 

Energy consuming process

The main form in which sugar beet pulp is traded and fed to livestok is the dehydrated form. However, drying sugar beet pulp requirements are equivalent to 33% of the energy consumption of the sugar factory (Mujumdar, 2014). To this respect dried sugar beet pulp is less environment-friendly than wet and pressed sugar beet pulp.

Environmental care

Since the beginning of sugarbeet processing, sugarbeet pulp has been traditionnally fed to livestock in order to reduce the disposal of these sugar by-products that would otherwise rise environmental concern. This use is economically and environmentally valuable (ADEME, 2016). In places where there are no farm animals, other ways of using sugarbeet pulp had to be found. These include the use of beet pulp in ethanol production, solid biofuel or as a raw material for paper (Brachi et al., 2017; Yi Zheng et al., 2012; Vaccari et al., 2005).

Nutritional aspects
Nutritional attributes 

Sugarbeet pulp contains about 7-12% DM of protein and moderate amounts of fibre: about 50% NDF, 24% ADF and almost no lignin. The sugar content is variable as it depends on the quality of the extraction and on the reintroduction of molasses. Non-molassed beet pulp should contain less than 10% sugar. Because sugarbeet pulp is obtained from a root, it has a variable mineral content that may exceed 15%, for instance when the roots have been harvested in rainy conditions (which happens in temperate regions where harvest takes place in autumn) and not washed thoroughly. For that reason, the calcium content can be quite high. 

Potential constraints 

Soil contamination

If the cleaning of the beet roots is not well done, there may remain soil which subsequently reduces organic matter and increases the ash content of the beet pulp (CNC, 2012).

Bacterial contamination

Though the microbiological quality of pressed and wet pulp may be of concern, it has been reported that dried and pelleted beet pulp have a very low level of microbial contamination, and are thus considered safe feed (Kowalska et al., 2013).


Chemicals can be added to the sugarbeet pulp during two steps of processing:

  • during diffusion, it may be useful to add antiseptic solution in order to prevent further microorganism development. At high level, the antiseptic may hinder silage process.
  • during pressing of the beet pulp, calcium sulfate or aluminium sulfate adjuvants are required to rigidify the beet pulp cell wall and increase pressing yield, but they can result in a S content too high for ruminants. S excess may have deleterious effects on animals. It results in loss of appetite, digestive troubles, reduced growth performance and it also causes secondary deficiencies in P, Zn, Cu, Se, and vitamin B1.

In order to prevent sulfate toxicity, the inclusion of H2SO4 should be limited to 1300 g/t beet roots. When aluminium sulfate is used for beet pulp pressing, farmers should increase P supplementation in the diet. It is thus important for them to be properly informed by the sugar factory (Legrand, 2015; CNC, 2012).

Milk fever

In high producing dairy cows the demand for blood calcium in the early stages of lactation is very high, and can result in a condition called milk fever that may be lethal for the cows. A way to alleviate milk fever is to avoid calcium rich feeds during late gestation when the cows are dry, as the negative calcium balance results in a minor decline in blood calcium concentrations when lactation begins. For this reason, it has been recommended to avoid sugar beet pulp of any form during this period (Allen, 2016).


Dehydrated sugar beet pulp is palatable and has a good nutritive value for all classes of cattle, and for sheep and goats. It is an outstanding source of energy in ruminant diets where it can profitably replace grains despite of a lower energy value. The valuable feature of dehydrated beet pulp is that it contains no starch and is thus at lower risk of acidosis than cereal grains (Zebeli et al., 2008). Main sugar beet pulp fibre (energy) is in the form of pectin (30% DM) (Yapo et al., 2007), which fermentates without producing lactate in the rumen and has thus pH stabilizing effects (Münnich et al., 2017). Dried sugar beet pulp has high water-holding capacity and is bulky. The large amount of water it retains in the digestive tract may have a laxative effect beneficial to breeding animals (Mavromichalis, 2016).


The rate of degradation of beet pulp in the rumen is fairly low: about 60% of effective degradability in situ of dry matter (DM) compared to cereals with quickly degradable starch (about 70-80%). For this reason concentrate feeds containing large proportion of beet pulp are less acidogenic than concentrates rich in rapidly degradable starch (Giger et al., 1988). In contrast, beet pulp DM effective degradability is a bit higher than that of maize grain and could result in higher methane production than maize (Ibáñez et al., 2015).

OM digestibility (OMD) of beet products is high (86.5 ± 4.5 %, n=68). The INRA 2018 tables has OMD = 84%, assuming a feeding level of 2% BW. This fairly high value of OMD is comparable to the values of high quality cereals, grain legumes and oil meals (OMD > 80%). There are systematic differences across feed tables on the OMD value of beet pulp products when data are corrected for their crude fibre or NDF contents. For instance they are systematically higher for the NorFor tables (88%) and lower for the NRC tables (78%).

In spite of their high NDF and crude fibre contents, beet pulp presents higher OMD values than other feeds, due to the very low level of lignin in the cell walls, which is typical of roots. As a consequence, the digestibility of the NDF is very high (> 80%) compared to most feeds (Torrent et al., 1994). For this reason beet pulp is considered as an ingredient rich in highly digestible fibre, such as maize bran, citrus pulp, palm oil meals, etc.

There is no systematic difference in OMD between dehydrated or pressed pulp. OMD can be predicted from its crude fibre content as follows:

OMD = 87.0 – 0.0084 (CF % DM)²    (n = 21, RMSE = 0.6)

It can also be predicted from the NDF content, with a lesser accuracy:

OMD = 91.1 – 0.18 NDF % DM    (n = 27, RMSE = 2.2)

The metabolizable energy value of beet pulp products for ruminants is around 11.2-11.5 MJ/kg DM in INRA tables (2018). This range of value is 85-95% of the metabolizable energy of ingredients known to be rich in energy such as maize, wheat, pea, soybean meal, etc.


Dehydrated sugar beet pulp has relatively low protein content similar to that of maize grain. In sacco degradability is low, 50 to 60%. The digestibility of the bypass protein fraction is estimated to be 85% which is less than the better cereals and oil meals (around 90-95%) but higher than dehydrated alfalfa (around 75%). The in situ methods assessing DM or N degradation of beet pulp may overestimate ruminally undegraded (RU) fraction and its intestinal effective digestibility (IED) if no correction for microbial contamination was taken into account (González et al., 2014).

The rumen protein balance of beet pulp products is negative (-30 to -50 g/kg DM) showing that they must be supplemented with resources providing fermentable protein to balance the diet and to optimize beet pulp nutritive value. The digestible protein content of beet pulp is rather low, around 85-90 g/kg DM and it had been recommended to suppplement sugar beet pulp by non-protein nitrogen (Leterme et al., 1992). According to the INRA tables (2018), due to differences in the in situ disappearance of N, there are differences between digestible protein (PDI) contents of dehydrated (94 g/kg DM), pressed (89 g) and dehydrated with molasses (82 g) sugar beets.


Dried beet pulp and molassed beet pulp are fed mostly to dairy cattle, for which they are very suitable. Dried beet pulp can be up to 30% of the diet on a DM basis (Schafer, 2007).

Up to 3.5 kg a day of dried beet pulp can be given to milking animals, and fattening cattle can make good use of up to 5.5 kg of dried pulp daily. Dried beet pulp may be fed in moderate amounts to calves from the age of about four months, a common daily allowance being 0.5 kg per head. Consistently with what is written above, beet pulp is one of the ingredients which can be used to increase the dietary fibre without decreasing the energy density content in dairy cows (Beauchemin et al., 1991).

Dairy cows

Many studies have evaluated the effects of sugar beet pulp as a feedstuff for dairy cows. Most results remained inconclusive and the great variation in sugar beet pulp inclusion rates and diet compositions makes it difficult to compare these studies to a greater extent. A recent meta-analysis assessed the effect of feeding beet pulp to dairy cows. It reported that sugar beet pulp had contradictory effect on DM intake, sometimes having no effects, sometimes increasing or decreasing (Münnich et al., 2017). Other studies found that the effect of sugar beet pulp on DMI depended on its inclusion rate (Shahmoradi et al., 2016).

Inclusion levels of sugar beet pulp reported in meta-analysis could be grouped in three levels: low (1-100 g/kg DM), medium (101-200 g /kg DM) and high (over 201 g/kg DM). Increasing levels of sugar beet pulp did not change milk yield but increased the fat-corrected milk yield (4% FCM), the maximum level of fat corrected milk obtained being at medium level of sugar beet pulp (Münnich et al., 2017). Milk fat yield and milk fat percentage were also shown to increase and the maximum increase was also at medium sugar beet pulp level (101-200 g/kg DM). Milk protein and milk lactose were not affected by sugar beet pulp at any level.

An important feature pointed out by the meta-analysis was that sugar beet pulp had generally positive effects on DM intake for cows with relatively low DM intake and had negative effect on cows with high intake level (Münnich et al., 2017).

In early studies, in the 1930's in the USA, sugar beet pulp had been reported to be responsible for milk fishy taint and for this reason had been suggested to be limited to 4.1 kg/d (basis unknown), however this problem was not observed at higher levels (up to 50% dietary level DM basis) reported later (Castle, 1972; Castle et al., 1966; Davies, 1936).

Beef cattle

Dried molassed beet pulp could be included in steers (368 kg) rations at levels ranging from 11 to 33% of dietary DM in order to gradually replace barley grain in low forage based diet. It was shown that dried sugar beet pulp had beneficial effect on chewing behaviour and on ruminal ammonia concentration (decreased). Health parameters of steers were not altered by the use of sugar beet pulp as a barley replacer (Mojtahedi et al., 2011).

It was possible to finish castrated Tudanca bulls fed on pasture with a supplement of 1,6 kg barley and 1 kg of dehydrated sugar beet pulp (Serrano et al., 2015). Crossbred Aberdeen Angus x Nordic Red bulls fed on a silage (timothy grass or red clover) basal diet and receiving 30% molassed beet pulp (DM basis) as a part of the concentrate had higher DM intake (+5%) and higher carcass weight (+3%). Sugar beet pulp had no effect on their fat score (Pesonen et al., 2014). In Belgium, steers (516 kg) fed either on cereal grains or dried sugar beet pulp had similar DM intake but animals fed on sugar beet pulp had significantly high weight gains (+155 g/head/d) in 3 different breeds (Charolais, Blonde d'Aquitaine and Blanc Bleu Belge) and showed a trend to improved FCR (Decruyenaere et al., 2006).

This kind of results had not been achieved earlier, when crossbred steers fed ad libitum on a low protein big bale silage (made of perennial ryegrass, timothy grass and white clover) were supplemented with molassed beet pulp alone at 0.66 kg DM/day (Rouzbehan et al., 1996). It was necessary to add fishmeal as a concentrate (at either 0.12 kg DM/day or 0.23 kg DM/day) in order to increase liveweight gain and obtain moderate growth performance of 0.6 kg/day (Rouzbehan et al., 1996). It was reported that molassed sugar beet pulp at high or low level (3 kg/day or 1.5 kg/day) should be added soybean meal for optimal intake and liveweight gain in growing steers (Keane, 2005).


Dried sugar beet pulp could be used at high level (up to 93% DM basis) in sheep diet to supplement low quality roughage (wheat straw) (Vanabelle et al., 1996; Flachowsky et al., 1993).

As for large ruminants, the use of sugar beet pulp prevented acidosis in sheep and high inclusion levels increased fibre and NDF digestibilities (Flachowsky et al., 1993). In Egypt, adult rams (53 kg) could be fed on dried sugar beet pulp (350 g/day) added or not with molasses (250 g/d), urea (15g/d), or berseem. No significant difference could be found among the different diets but digestibility, feeding value and blood composition were better when sugar beet pulp were added molasses or molasses + urea (Abdelhamid, 1992).

In Pakistan, Barki lambs (30 kg BW) received sugar beet pulp in order to replace 25, 50, 75 or 100% maize grain. The highest inclusion rates of sugar beet pulp resulted in higher TDN, digestible energy, metabolizable energy and digestible protein. There was only a slight difference between sheep fed on control (100% maize grain) and sheep fed on the highest levels of sugar beet pulp. It was concluded that sugar beet pulp could completely replace maize grain in growing sheep diet (Mahmoud et al., 2016).

Similarly, in India, it was shown that growing lambs could be fed on molassed sugar beet pulp rather than barley without modifying liveweight gain, feed intake or feed conversion ratio or animal health parameters (Bilal, 2009).

However, it was shown that 7-8 months-old lambs receiving 470 g/d (as fed) molassed sugar beet pulp in a 50:50 mixture with rolled barley rather than a 80:20 mixture had faster growth due to faster digestion, higher DM intake and better feed conversion (Rouzbehan et al., 1994). Later results confirmed the usefulness of keeping at least 25% barley grain in growing lamb diet (Mandebvu et al., 1999)

Finishing lambs were fed on 43% sugar beet pulp in order to replace barley in an attempt to prevent accumulation of trans-10-18:1 fatty acid in lamb meat. Sugar beet pulp had no effect on animal growth performance, feed intake, carcass characteristics but it increased redness and yellowness of the meat. However, sugar beet pulp could not prevent the accumulation of the trans fatty acid (Costa et al., 2017)

Ammonia-treated sugar beet pulp

It was shown that treatment of sugar beet pulp with ammonia could enhance sugar beet pulp nutritive value. It doubled N content, increased CP digestibility from 37 to 64% and crude fibre digestibility from 76.1 to 84.8%. Ammonia treatment increased N retention as 40% of the ammonia used was retained (Vanabelle et al., 1996).


Goats can be fed on dried sugar beet pulp included in their ration at levels varying from 20 to 33% (DM basis) (Monzon-Gil et al., 2010; Rapetti et al., 2004; Gallo et al., 1999; Andrighetto et al., 1989). Goats were reported to have a clear preference for sugar beet pulp (Andrighetto et al., 1989).



Fibrous feeds have been included in post-weaning pig diets to assess their effect on animal performance and health parameters. A mixture of dried sugar beet pulp (75%) and soybean hulls (25%) was included at 8 or 12% in piglet diets. Thanks to its high pectin content, sugar beet pulp had a favourable effect on intestinal microbiota and was very well digested by piglets (Gaudré et al., 2010).

Growing and fattening pigs

Dehydrated sugar beet pulp was fed at 17% to growing and fattening heavy pigs (44-133 kg). In comparison to pressed beet pulp, dehydrated sugar beet pulp yielded better animal performance during the first growth phase. Over the whole experimental period, the diet containing dehydrated pulp had better FCR than the control diet, and carcass and meat quality were not altered by the use of beet pulp (Parisini et al., 1991).

Dehydrated sugar beet pulp has also been used in pig diets in order to reduce N excretion and ammonia emissions. Inclusion levels ranging from 10 to 24% proved to be effective in growing and heavy pigs for N and ammonia reduction (Galassi et al., 2007; Yamamoto et al., 2003; Shriver et al., 2003).

Dehydrated sugar beet pulp was included in heavy pig diets at 24% (DM basis). This inclusion resulted in lower protein digestibility but higher fibre digestibility. Urinary N excretion was reduced but fecal excretion was increased. However, ammonia emission from slurry was significantly lower (-25.3%) (Galassi et al., 2007). These results are consistent with those observed in growing pigs, in Japan, where the pigs were offered a low CP diet supplemented with amino acids and 23% dehydrated sugar beet pulp. Urinary excretion was reduced, fecal excretion was increased and ammonia emission from the mixture was half that of low CP diet without fibre (Yamamoto et al., 2003). At low fibre level (10% dried beet pulp) added to a low CP diet, N excretion was not further reduced but ammmonia and volatile fatty acids were lower in the slurry (Shriver et al., 2003). The use of dehydrated sugar beet pulp at 16% in growing pigs (85 kg) reduced N and EE digestibilities while increasing fibre digestibility. Other digestion parameters were not affected, metabolizable energy was unchanged but heat production of pigs fed on dehydrated beet pulp was greater. Net energy was thus reduced. Another observtion was the higher emission of CH4 (Galassi et al., 2004).


Dehydrated molassed sugar beet pulp was fed to sows at up to 40% of the diet. However, it was reported that optimal inclusion level was 20%, yielding better growth rate, feed conversion ratio and profit. Carcass yield was slightly reduced as a result of greater gut-fill, but backfat thickness was also decreased under beet pulp diet. It was also shown that litter birthweight was higher at 20% (Lee et al., 1991 cited by Lewis et al., 2001).


Sugar beet pulp is rich in soluble and insoluble fibre, and has therefore a low nutritive value in poultry. Several studies concluded that the addition of sugar beet pulp in rations decrease digestibility at ileal or fecal level (Alagawany et al., 2015; Jiménez-Moreno et al., 2009; Jiménez-Moreno et al., 2013).

Some trials have been done to evaluate the interest of sugar beet pulp as a source of fibre in some contexts. However, in this perspective other fibre sources seem to be more favourable, such as oat hulls (Jiménez-Moreno et al., 2009; González-Alvarado et al., 2010), rice hulls (Sadeghi et al., 2015), or straw (Guzmán et al., 2016).


Low levels of sugar beet pulp (2-3%) had no significant effects, or decreased growth performance in broilers (Sadeghi et al., 2015; González-Alvarado et al., 2010; Jiménez-Moreno et al., 2013). However, in low fibre diets, the addition of sugar beet pulp with energy supplementation improved performance sometimes (Jiménez-Moreno et al., 2009; Pettersson et al., 1993). At higher inclusion levels (5 to 7.5%), performance was always degraded (Jiménez-Moreno et al., 2013; Pettersson et al., 1993).


Energy intake and laying performance of layers were decreased by the addition of sugar beet pulp in the diet. Pelleting diets helped to alleviate these negative effects, particularly in warm periods (Almirall et al., 1997). However, in older studies with lower production levels (70% laying rate), the inclusion of 10% sugar beet pulp did not decrease production but degraded feed conversion, due to a higher feed intake (Daghir, 1975).

In pullets, the use of low levels (2-4%) of sugar beet pulp had negative consequences on the subsequent laying performance of the layers (Guzmán et al., 2016). In the same conditions, similar levels of cereal straw had not such negative consequences.


The inclusion of sugar beet pulp in laying quail diets had no significant effect on feed intake and laying rate, but a negative effect on body weight, feed efficiency and the hatchability of eggs (Alagawany et al., 2015). Enzyme supplementation was inefficient to alleviate these problems.


The substitution of 10% (starters) and 20% (growers) geese diets with sugar beet pulp did not affect growth performance, but led to a slight increase in feed intake (Arslan, 2005). In contrast, when diets were iso-energetic, feed intake was slightly decreased, but gizzard weight was increased, which was favourable in a perspective of overfeeding for fatty liver production (Arroyo et al., 2015).


Sugar beet pulp was assessed as a means to dilute breeder diets in order to improve welfare by increasing satiety (Hocking et al., 2004). The use of 15% sugar beet pulp in breeders increased feed intake and did not affect laying performance (Enting et al., 2007). However, there was a slight negative effect on hatchability.


Dried sugar beet pulp is a by-product of the sugar industry long-time used in rabbit feeding, after soaking and incorporation in a mash (Leaver, 1934) or incorporated in a complete pelleted diet (Bruce et al., 1946). In commercial complete rabbit feeds currently used in Europe, the incorporation level varies generally between 8 and 20% (de Blas et al., 2010; Theau-Clément et al., 2016). In experimental diets, the incorporation level, around 11-16% on average, could be increased up to 50% without problem (Lebas et al., 2009; Lebas et al., 2013; Lebas et al., 2017). For some short term experiments, such as digestibility studies, beet pulp was used as the only feed without immediate health problem, but at this level, beet pulp failed to support the rabbit maintenance minimum requirements (Voris et al., 1940; Martinez-Pascual et al., 1980). In different studies devoted to the possibility of beet pulp utilisation in growing or reproducing rabbits, this raw material was used with success as a source of digestible energy to replace cereals in general (Skrivanova et al., 1996) or more specifically maize (Battaglini et al., 1978; El-Zeiny et al., 1998), wheat (Franck et al., 1980) or barley (Lebas et al., 1988; Cobos et al., 1995; Garcia et al., 1992). Beet pulp was also used as a source of fibre to replace dehydrated alfalfa (Carabano et al., 1997; Harris et al., 1980; Trocino et al., 1999; El-Adawy et al., 2000).

Sugar beet pulp is a potential feed ingredient for rabbits characterized by a relatively low protein content, similar to that of maize. Contrary to the protein of cereals, beet pulp proteins are deficient in sulphur-containing amino acids and relatively rich in lysine: respectively 75% and 125% of growing rabbit requirements (Lebas, 2013). Beet pulp carbohydrates are mainly the residual cell walls remaining after removing the sucrose of sugar beet root. As for quite all root products or by-products, the lignin level is low allowing a high digestibility of the different types of beet pulp fibre in the rabbit cæcum (Jehl et al., 1996). The NDF content represents about 48-50% of DM, but the total dietary fibre (TDF) content is largely higher: 68%, due to the presence of a high proportion of pectin (15-18%) and other soluble and insoluble non-starch polysaccharides (de Blas et al., 1996; Gidenne, 2015). This part of the fibre (TDF minus NDF) is digested very efficiently in the cæcum (80-85%) and absorbed in form of volatile fatty acids, a situation favourable to the rabbit health (Peeters et al., 1995; Pascual et al., 2014). However, simultaneously the low digestible fraction of the diet must be sufficient, with a digestible fibre:ADF ratio not greater than 1.3 (Gidenne, 2015). As a consequence of the high digestibility of beet pulp fibrous content, the digestible energy of this by-product is of the same order than that of cereals. However, as illustrated in the following table, the digestible energy content varies from 9.4 to 14.2 MJ/kg DM between studies, resulting in an average of 12.05 MJ/kg DM. In seven of these studies, protein digestibility was simultaneously determined resulting also in a relatively wide variation from 44 to 74%. The average is 58%, a little lower than that of alfalfa.

Table 1: Digestible energy and nitrogen digestibility of sugar beet pulp according to different authors

Country Method % incorporation Digestible energy
(MJ/kg DM)
digestibility (%)
USA Only feed 100% 14.3 48.3 Voris et al., 1940
Italy Formulation 32% 13.8 43.6 Battaglini et al., 1978
Spain Only feed 100% 14.2 62.7 Martinez-Pascual et al., 1980
France Subst. basal 20% 13.9 72.6 Lebas et al., 1981
Belgium Subst. basal 40% 12.3 44.7 Maertens et al., 1984
Hungary Subst. basal 40% 13.0 62 Fekete et al., 1986
Spain Subst. diet A 40% 12.4   de Blas et al., 1990
Spain Subst. diet B 40% 10.0   de Blas et al., 1990
Spain Subst. alfalfa 30% 12.5   Motta Ferreira, 1990
Spain Subst. alfalfa 10-30% 9.4   Carabaño et al., 1992
Spain Subst. barley - fibrous 15% 9.6   Garcia et al., 1992
Spain Subst. barley - fibrous 30% 10.2   Garcia et al., 1992
Spain Subst. barley - normal 50% 12.4   Garcia et al., 1993
Spain Subst. barley - normal 15% 10.6   Garcia et al., 1993
Spain Average 15-20% 10.5   de Blas et al., 1996
Greece Subst. basal 20% 12.5   Papadomichelakis et al., 2004
France Subst. basal 15-30% 13.3 74.4 Gidenne et al., 2007
Average N = 17/7     12.05 58.3  

From a practical point of view, sugar beet pulp may be used in balanced diets for rabbits at up to 20-25% without problems, as a source of digestible energy and fibre, provided that some other ingredients of the diet bring the low digestible fibre also necessary to the digestive heath of rabbits. In addition, it must be underlined that beet pulp has a very positive effect on pellet quality: it increased pellets durability by up to 98.9% while the reference diet had a durability of only 97.2% (Kaliyan et al., 2009).

Sugar beet pulp and molasses

Some studies were conducted to evaluate the possibility of using with rabbits a mixture containing sugar beet pulp and molasses, generally employed for beef or dairy cattle in Northern Europe (Jensen, 1992). Results of growth and feed efficiency with a mixture of beet pulp and 35% molasses incorporated in growing rabbit diets were 5 to 10% higher than those obtained with pure beet pulp at the same level (Jensen, 1992).

Nutritional tables
Tables of chemical composition and nutritional value 

Avg: average or predicted value; SD: standard deviation; Min: minimum value; Max: maximum value; Nb: number of values (samples) used

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Dry matter % as fed 88.8 1.1 83.8 95.5 4209  
Crude protein % DM 8.9 0.6 6.7 13.9 2976  
Crude fibre % DM 19.4 0.9 15.8 24.3 2975  
Ether extract % DM 0.9 0.4 0.2 2.5 607  
Ash % DM 7.1 1.5 3.2 16 4082  
Insoluble ash % DM 1.5 1.4 0.07 9.9 3065 *
Neutral detergent fibre % DM 47.1 3.7 30.1 55.7 228 *
Acid detergent fibre % DM 23.8 1.3 14.4 27.8 227 *
Lignin % DM 2.7 1.1 1.1 6 211  
Starch (polarimetry) % DM 0.9 1.6 0 4.3 8  
Total sugars % DM 7.8 2.4 1.3 16.4 2059 *
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 17.1 0.7 14.8 18.1 35 *
Amino acids Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Lysine g/16g N 6.3 1.1 4.3 7.3 7 *
Threonine g/16g N 4.8 0.6 3.2 5.1 8 *
Methionine g/16g N 1.7 0.3 0.9 2 8 *
Cystine g/16g N 1.3 0.3 0.9 1.8 8 *
Methionine+cystine g/16g N 3 0.5 1.8 3.6 8 *
Tryptophan g/16g N 1   1 1.2 3 *
Isoleucine g/16g N 4.4 0.4 3.4 4.5 8 *
Valine g/16g N 6.9 0.9 4.8 7.1 8 *
Leucine g/16g N 7.1 0.9 4.6 7.2 9 *
Phenylalanine g/16g N 4.5 0.6 2.8 4.6 9 *
Tyrosine g/16g N 5.2 0.7 3.4 5.6 9 *
Phenylalanine+tyrosine g/16g N 9.7 1.3 6.1 10.2 9 *
Histidine g/16g N 3.8 0.7 2 3.9 8 *
Arginine g/16g N 4.5 0.7 3 5.1 9 *
Alanine g/16g N 5.3 0.5 4.1 5.4 8 *
Aspartic acid g/16g N 8 0.9 5.7 8.3 8 *
Glutamic acid g/16g N 10.2 2.7 8.1 16.7 8 *
Glycine g/16g N 4.7 0.6 3.1 4.8 8 *
Serine g/16g N 5.7 0.5 4.2 5.7 8 *
Proline g/16g N 4.8 0.6 3.3 5.1 8 *
Fatty acids Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Palmitic acid C16:0 % fatty acids 20.6          
Stearic acid C18:0 % fatty acids 1.4          
Oleic acid C18:1 % fatty acids 9.7          
Linoleic acid C18:2 % fatty acids 57.8          
Linolenic acid C18:3 % fatty acids 10.5          
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 14.5 2.7 6.1 23 294 *
Phosphorus g/kg DM 1 0.3 0.2 2.1 1131 *
Magnesium g/kg DM 1.8 0.5 1.1 3.2 51  
Potassium g/kg DM 4.5 1.9 1.2 13.2 1467  
Sodium g/kg DM 0.6 0.84 0.11 7 166  
Sulfur g/kg DM 2.4 1.1 0.3 7.8 302  
Manganese mg/kg DM 80 22 41 121 36  
Zinc mg/kg DM 22 15 9 89 36  
Copper mg/kg DM 6 2 3 11 50  
Iron mg/kg DM 677 344 282 1650 35  
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 11.4 0.3       *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 81 3 81 89 9 *
OM digestibility, ruminants % 84 4 81 91 19 *
Nitrogen digestibility, ruminants % 70 9 47 74 18 *
Nitrogen degradability (effective, k=6%) % 52 8 34 65 16  
a (N) % 3          
b (N) % 89          
c (N) h-1 0.075          
Dry matter degradability (effective, k=6%) % 59   42 68 3  
a (DM) % 4          
b (DM) % 90          
c (DM) h-1 0.095          
Pig nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
DE growing pig MJ/kg DM 12.2 2.1       *
MEn growing pig MJ/kg DM 11.5         *
NE growing pig MJ/kg DM 6.9         *
Energy digestibility, growing pig % 71 12       *
Nitrogen digestibility, growing pig % 49         *
Rabbit nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
DE rabbit MJ/kg DM 11.6   10 13.7 4 *
MEn rabbit MJ/kg DM 11.3         *
Energy digestibility, rabbit % 68   58 72 2  
Nitrogen digestibility, rabbit % 50 23 18 76 5  

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.

Last updated on 22/12/2017 17:50:11

Datasheet citation 

Heuzé V., Thiollet H., Tran G., Sauvant D., Bastianelli D., Lebas F., 2020. Sugar beet pulp, dehydrated. Feedipedia, a programme by INRAE, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. https://feedipedia.org/node/24378 Last updated on February 27, 2020, 16:09