Beets in Barn Feeding
The use of beets in barn feeding requires not only storage, but also proper handling. Handling means cleaning, chopping of beets and mixing with other feeds. Cleaning can be done either dry or wet. There are a number of types of machines for chopping. Finally, the beets will most likely be mixed with other feeds. Processing can be done as part of fresh feeding or in preparation for beet ensiling.
It is often referred to as the main disadvantage for beet feeding that the beet grow in the soil and therefore requires efforts for cleaning. However, it should be reminded that even cut grass or maize for silage may contain considerable amount of soil (some findings 3-5 % soil). Carefully cleaned beet may contain less than 5 % soil. The efforts required for beet cleaning depends on soil type, occurrence of stones and harvest conditions.
Good to know about Cleaning
Dry cleaning is the most common way of cleaning and destoning beets. It is not nearly as expensive or labor intensive as wet cleaning. When done well, dry cleaning is efficient and safe enough to prepare beets for the feed table. Cleaning can be done before storage (be careful not to damage the beets) or after storage, just before feeding.
The most efficient way of cleaning beet is done through wet cleaning. Wet cleaning is also the most expensive way of cleaning beet. In the past, KWS has been involved in developing a beet washer that is primarily oriented to the growing number of biogas plants in Germany. Other brands have already been on the market for decades. The available machines generally operate with a water circuit and, together with efficient destoning, can clean the beets down to less than two percent dirt.
The need to clean beets depends on the type of soil and the presence of stones. It is a common belief that soil in the feed is a major health risk to the animals. Larger amounts of sand and stones are obviously not good for the feed table. Clay and loan, on the other hand, usually pass through the gastrointestinal tract without causing illness in the animals.
For obvious reasons, beets that are fed to animals must be chopped. For two reasons: First, chopped beets are easier for animals to eat. Second, chopped beets (when chopped relatively small) provide uniform feeding and prevent selection by animals during feeding. The size of chopped beets should ideally be no larger than 3-5 cm.
Good to know about Chopping Beet
As a consequence of the chopping and the effluent production beet must be mixed with the other feed stuff immediately. If fed fresh beet may be chopped directly to feeding table with a portable bucket type beet chopper. If beet are mixed in other feed stuff (e.g. maize or grass silage) it can either be done with a portable bucket type or it can be mixed in with a rotor harrow pr spread out in the pile with a manure spreader.