Sugar beet is a temperate climate crop grown mainly for production of sucrose. A recent study from the Atlantic Dairy and Forage Institute, NB, Canada, determined if sugar beets can be efficiently added to mid-lactating dairy cow diets as a source of energy.
The researchers (Evans et al., 2016) replaced corn and barley with sugar beets at 0, 8.0, 16.0, and 24.0% of the total diet dry matter (DM). Soybean meal was used to adjust protein content in the diets (16% protein).
Sugar beets used in the current study were harvested in the Port Dover region of Ontario, Canada, in early November 2014. Dry matter, protein, fibre (NDF), and sugar contents in the beets were 23.3, 2,3, 11.6, and 71.2% of DM, respectively.
They were chopped just before being added to the TMR at particles that ranged from 2-4 cm in length and approximately 1 cm in width. Sugar level in the diets increased with the inclusion of beets from 4.61% in the TMR without beets to 19.12% in the TMR with the greatest inclusion of beets.
Continue reading this article published in International Dairy Topics.