Fodder Beets

Beta vulgaris

Technical Data Sheet
Technical Data Sheet

Fodder Beets

Beta vulgaris

Fodder Beets

Beta vulgaris

Technical Data Sheet

Description

Purpose & Fit

High sugar content, good leaf fodder characteristics, high nutritive value, and large yields compared to other forage crops, fodder beets are an energy feed used to replace cereal grains as a source of energy in ruminants. Excelling as a winter food source, fill values can be comparable to grass, silage, hay, or concentrate feed. Fodder beets are the highest-yielding crop in temperate climates with high organic matter digestibility resulting in lactation values similar to or higher than cereal grains. Fodder beets have increased the fat and protein content of milk while maintaining yields and energy output. While fiber content is low, it is higher than wheat or maize grain. Fodder beets are deficient in calcium, and animals will require supplemental calcium. Alternate planting strips between brassicas high in calcium with fodder beet strips to alleviate calcium deficiency issues.

Fodder beets utilized in organic farming assist with energy supply, nitrogen balance, and reducing the amount of potential human food used in animal feeding. Providing forage at the end of a dry summer when most species have succumbed to drought conditions, it is also possible to curb aggressive behavior in sows by using fodder beets for feed and reducing feeding rates by 20%. When fed in appropriate quantities, fodder beets maintain healthy livestock digestive systems, promote growth in young stock, and stimulate milk production without imparting flavors.

Growth Pattern

Fodder beets are biennial plants that have shallow, fleshy, and swollen roots. During its first year of growth, vegetable parts develop with dark green leaves horizontally oriented to catch as much light as possible.

Interseeding

Not Recommended

Did You Know?

Fodder beets were first grown in Germany and were a popular crop for both human and animal consumption until the early 1900s.

Seeds/Lb: 24,000

Description

Purpose & Fit

High sugar content, good leaf fodder characteristics, high nutritive value, and large yields compared to other forage crops, fodder beets are an energy feed used to replace cereal grains as a source of energy in ruminants. Excelling as a winter food source, fill values can be comparable to grass, silage, hay, or concentrate feed. Fodder beets are the highest-yielding crop in temperate climates with high organic matter digestibility resulting in lactation values similar to or higher than cereal grains. Fodder beets have increased the fat and protein content of milk while maintaining yields and energy output. While fiber content is low, it is higher than wheat or maize grain. Fodder beets are deficient in calcium, and animals will require supplemental calcium. Alternate planting strips between brassicas high in calcium with fodder beet strips to alleviate calcium deficiency issues.

Fodder beets utilized in organic farming assist with energy supply, nitrogen balance, and reducing the amount of potential human food used in animal feeding. Providing forage at the end of a dry summer when most species have succumbed to drought conditions, it is also possible to curb aggressive behavior in sows by using fodder beets for feed and reducing feeding rates by 20%. When fed in appropriate quantities, fodder beets maintain healthy livestock digestive systems, promote growth in young stock, and stimulate milk production without imparting flavors.

Growth Pattern

Fodder beets are biennial plants that have shallow, fleshy, and swollen roots. During its first year of growth, vegetable parts develop with dark green leaves horizontally oriented to catch as much light as possible.

Interseeding

Not Recommended

Did You Know?

Fodder beets were first grown in Germany and were a popular crop for both human and animal consumption until the early 1900s.

Seeds/Lb: 24,000

Description

Purpose & Fit

High sugar content, good leaf fodder characteristics, high nutritive value, and large yields compared to other forage crops, fodder beets are an energy feed used to replace cereal grains as a source of energy in ruminants. Excelling as a winter food source, fill values can be comparable to grass, silage, hay, or concentrate feed. Fodder beets are the highest-yielding crop in temperate climates with high organic matter digestibility resulting in lactation values similar to or higher than cereal grains. Fodder beets have increased the fat and protein content of milk while maintaining yields and energy output. While fiber content is low, it is higher than wheat or maize grain. Fodder beets are deficient in calcium, and animals will require supplemental calcium. Alternate planting strips between brassicas high in calcium with fodder beet strips to alleviate calcium deficiency issues.

Fodder beets utilized in organic farming assist with energy supply, nitrogen balance, and reducing the amount of potential human food used in animal feeding. Providing forage at the end of a dry summer when most species have succumbed to drought conditions, it is also possible to curb aggressive behavior in sows by using fodder beets for feed and reducing feeding rates by 20%. When fed in appropriate quantities, fodder beets maintain healthy livestock digestive systems, promote growth in young stock, and stimulate milk production without imparting flavors.

Growth Pattern

Fodder beets are biennial plants that have shallow, fleshy, and swollen roots. During its first year of growth, vegetable parts develop with dark green leaves horizontally oriented to catch as much light as possible.

Interseeding

Not Recommended

Did You Know?

Fodder beets were first grown in Germany and were a popular crop for both human and animal consumption until the early 1900s.

Seeds/Lb: 24,000

Adaptation

Climate & Soil

Soil salinity tolerance is moderate for fodder beets, and irrigation with saline water is possible. Well-adapted to colder, moist climates, fodder beets are less sensitive to weather variations than other rooted crops. Frost’s below 27°F will damage seedlings.

Soil pH: 6.0 – 8.0

Optimum Growth Range: 46°F – 77°F

Adaptation

Climate & Soil

Soil salinity tolerance is moderate for fodder beets, and irrigation with saline water is possible. Well-adapted to colder, moist climates, fodder beets are less sensitive to weather variations than other rooted crops. Frost’s below 27°F will damage seedlings.

Soil pH: 6.0 – 8.0

Optimum Growth Range: 46°F – 77°F

Adaptation

Climate & Soil

Soil salinity tolerance is moderate for fodder beets, and irrigation with saline water is possible. Well-adapted to colder, moist climates, fodder beets are less sensitive to weather variations than other rooted crops. Frost’s below 27°F will damage seedlings.

Soil pH: 6.0 – 8.0

Optimum Growth Range: 46°F – 77°F

Establishment

Planting

Suggested row spacing is 12″ – 18″ with an in-row spacing of 4″ – 6″. Irrigate throughout the summer months to maximize yield. Light, sandy soils will need to be irrigated more frequently and at a lower rate per application than heavier soils. Between 8″ – 12″ of moisture or irrigation annually may be needed. Once fodder beets are sticking about an inch out of the soil, it is effective to throw soil into the row for weed control, but not necessary to cover the root with soil. Fodder beets need a fine, deeply plowed, well-drained soil free of clumps or rocks. Light spring tillage of 1″ – 2″ deep will improve germination. Prepare seedbeds as early as possible.

Seeding Depth: ¾” – 1.0″

Germination

Min Time To Emergence: 10 – 15 days

Ideal Temp: 55°F – 85°F

Seeding Rate

Monoculture: 1 – 2 Lb/A

Establishment

Planting

Suggested row spacing is 12″ – 18″ with an in-row spacing of 4″ – 6″. Irrigate throughout the summer months to maximize yield. Light, sandy soils will need to be irrigated more frequently and at a lower rate per application than heavier soils. Between 8″ – 12″ of moisture or irrigation annually may be needed. Once fodder beets are sticking about an inch out of the soil, it is effective to throw soil into the row for weed control, but not necessary to cover the root with soil. Fodder beets need a fine, deeply plowed, well-drained soil free of clumps or rocks. Light spring tillage of 1″ – 2″ deep will improve germination. Prepare seedbeds as early as possible.

Seeding Depth: ¾” – 1.0″

Germination

Min Time To Emergence: 10 – 15 days

Ideal Temp: 55°F – 85°F

Seeding Rate

Monoculture: 1 – 2 Lb/A

Establishment

Planting

Suggested row spacing is 12″ – 18″ with an in-row spacing of 4″ – 6″. Irrigate throughout the summer months to maximize yield. Light, sandy soils will need to be irrigated more frequently and at a lower rate per application than heavier soils. Between 8″ – 12″ of moisture or irrigation annually may be needed. Once fodder beets are sticking about an inch out of the soil, it is effective to throw soil into the row for weed control, but not necessary to cover the root with soil. Fodder beets need a fine, deeply plowed, well-drained soil free of clumps or rocks. Light spring tillage of 1″ – 2″ deep will improve germination. Prepare seedbeds as early as possible.

Seeding Depth: ¾” – 1.0″

Germination

Min Time To Emergence: 10 – 15 days

Ideal Temp: 55°F – 85°F

Seeding Rate

Monoculture: 1 – 2 Lb/A

Management

Grazing

Unable to withstand frosts, roots will require harvesting. Strip grazing will minimize soil losses from harvesting.
Using a one-week transition with 2lb of fodder beets a day, feed dairy cows up to 30lb/day of fresh fodder beets. Supplement fodder beets with rapeseed, ground linseed, or ground sunflower seed to correct high saturated fatty acid content conditions created from hay and fodder beet diets. Ensiled fodder beets give good results in finisher pigs with increased daily weight gains and improved feed conversion ratio. Fodder beets will not form a complete diet and act more as a concentrate with control over the amount of intake the key to preventing scouring. Slice or shred fodder beets before mixing with green fodder or grain to avoid choking issues. Feeding whole fodder beets to poultry can prevent aggression and cannibalism.

Earliest Time To Graze: Early Fall (Strip Grazing Only)

Fertilizer Requirements

Fodder beets have low soluble protein, and nitrogen supplementation is necessary. Sensitive to fertilizer salts, reductions in germination will occur if there is contact between seed and salt. Apply fertilizer before seeding to avoid contact in seed furrows and ensure maximum germination. Use caution when applying nitrogen as higher levels will reduce sucrose content in roots.

At Planting: 50 Lb/A N – 75 Lb/A N

During Grazing Season: No Recommendation

Hay or Silage?

Not Recommended

Recovery

Minimum Graze Height: Not Applicable

Rest Period: Not Applicable

Mixes

  • Buckwheat

Yields

Although yields can vary widely based on environmental and location factors, an increase of up to 30% is observed in wetter climates or under irrigation.

Tons of Dry Matter/A: 13-45 (Root), 4-8 (leaf)

Management

Grazing

Unable to withstand frosts, roots will require harvesting. Strip grazing will minimize soil losses from harvesting.
Using a one-week transition with 2lb of fodder beets a day, feed dairy cows up to 30lb/day of fresh fodder beets. Supplement fodder beets with rapeseed, ground linseed, or ground sunflower seed to correct high saturated fatty acid content conditions created from hay and fodder beet diets. Ensiled fodder beets give good results in finisher pigs with increased daily weight gains and improved feed conversion ratio. Fodder beets will not form a complete diet and act more as a concentrate with control over the amount of intake the key to preventing scouring. Slice or shred fodder beets before mixing with green fodder or grain to avoid choking issues. Feeding whole fodder beets to poultry can prevent aggression and cannibalism.

Earliest Time To Graze: Early Fall (Strip Grazing Only)

Fertilizer Requirements

Fodder beets have low soluble protein, and nitrogen supplementation is necessary. Sensitive to fertilizer salts, reductions in germination will occur if there is contact between seed and salt. Apply fertilizer before seeding to avoid contact in seed furrows and ensure maximum germination. Use caution when applying nitrogen as higher levels will reduce sucrose content in roots.

At Planting: 50 Lb/A N – 75 Lb/A N

During Grazing Season: No Recommendation

Hay or Silage?

Not Recommended

Recovery

Minimum Graze Height: Not Applicable

Rest Period: Not Applicable

Mixes

  • Buckwheat

Yields

Although yields can vary widely based on environmental and location factors, an increase of up to 30% is observed in wetter climates or under irrigation.

Tons of Dry Matter/A: 13-45 (Root), 4-8 (leaf)

Management

Grazing

Unable to withstand frosts, roots will require harvesting. Strip grazing will minimize soil losses from harvesting.
Using a one-week transition with 2lb of fodder beets a day, feed dairy cows up to 30lb/day of fresh fodder beets. Supplement fodder beets with rapeseed, ground linseed, or ground sunflower seed to correct high saturated fatty acid content conditions created from hay and fodder beet diets. Ensiled fodder beets give good results in finisher pigs with increased daily weight gains and improved feed conversion ratio. Fodder beets will not form a complete diet and act more as a concentrate with control over the amount of intake the key to preventing scouring. Slice or shred fodder beets before mixing with green fodder or grain to avoid choking issues. Feeding whole fodder beets to poultry can prevent aggression and cannibalism.

Earliest Time To Graze: Early Fall (Strip Grazing Only)

Fertilizer Requirements

Fodder beets have low soluble protein, and nitrogen supplementation is necessary. Sensitive to fertilizer salts, reductions in germination will occur if there is contact between seed and salt. Apply fertilizer before seeding to avoid contact in seed furrows and ensure maximum germination. Use caution when applying nitrogen as higher levels will reduce sucrose content in roots.

At Planting: 50 Lb/A N – 75 Lb/A N

During Grazing Season: No Recommendation

Hay or Silage

Not Recommended

Recovery

Minimum Graze Height: Not Applicable

Rest Period: Not Applicable

Mixes

  • Buckwheat

Yields

Although yields can vary widely based on environmental and location factors, an increase of up to 30% is observed in wetter climates or under irrigation.

Tons of Dry Matter/A: 13-45 (Root), 4-8 (leaf)

Considerations

Permanent Pasture

Fodder beets will require annual seeding.

Competitiveness

Weeds will germinate first and outcompete fodder beets if planting occurs too early or in cold, wet weather.

Risks

Not to be used in large quantities, fodder beet leaves contain a large amount of oxalic acid. Administer calcium injections if cattle start displaying symptoms similar to milk fever.

Nitrates can also be an issue and can cause scouring. If digestive disturbance or abortion occurs in animals foraging on fodder beets, use a lower nitrate feed.

Fodder beets have a risk of acidosis and ketosis. Low birthweights and mating concerns dictate that sows should only be fed silage containing limited amounts of fodder beet.

Injury from frost can be a concern for fodder beets. Once frozen, fodder beets will quickly rot in storage. When preparing for silage, remove leaves to within 2 – 4 inches of the top of the root or allow animals to forage the tops. If cut too close to the top of the root or damaged during processing, fodders beet will likely rot. As with most brassicas and broadleafs, risks are mitigated by gradually introducing a fodder beet diet.

Diseases

  • Bacterial Blight
  • Scab
  • Beet Curly Top Disease
  • Beet Western Yellows Virus
  • Cercospora Leaf Spot
  • Damping Off
  • Downy Mildew
  • Fusarium Yellow Root Rot
  • Powdery Mildew

Pests

  • Nematodes
  • Root-Knot Nematode
  • Darkling Beetle
  • Leafminers

Considerations

Permanent Pasture

Fodder beets will require annual seeding.

Competitiveness

Weeds will germinate first and outcompete fodder beets if planting occurs too early or in cold, wet weather.

Risks

Not to be used in large quantities, fodder beet leaves contain a large amount of oxalic acid. Administer calcium injections if cattle start displaying symptoms similar to milk fever.

Nitrates can also be an issue and can cause scouring. If digestive disturbance or abortion occurs in animals foraging on fodder beets, use a lower nitrate feed.

Fodder beets have a risk of acidosis and ketosis. Low birthweights and mating concerns dictate that sows should only be fed silage containing limited amounts of fodder beet.

Injury from frost can be a concern for fodder beets. Once frozen, fodder beets will quickly rot in storage. When preparing for silage, remove leaves to within 2 – 4 inches of the top of the root or allow animals to forage the tops. If cut too close to the top of the root or damaged during processing, fodders beet will likely rot. As with most brassicas and broadleafs, risks are mitigated by gradually introducing a fodder beet diet.

Diseases

  • Bacterial Blight
  • Scab
  • Beet Curly Top Disease
  • Beet Western Yellows Virus
  • Cercospora Leaf Spot
  • Damping Off
  • Downy Mildew
  • Fusarium Yellow Root Rot
  • Powdery Mildew

Pests

  • Nematodes
  • Root-Knot Nematode
  • Darkling Beetle
  • Leafminers

Considerations

Permanent Pasture

Fodder beets will require annual seeding.

Competitiveness

Weeds will germinate first and outcompete fodder beets if planting occurs too early or in cold, wet weather.

Risks

Not to be used in large quantities, fodder beet leaves contain a large amount of oxalic acid. Administer calcium injections if cattle start displaying symptoms similar to milk fever.

Nitrates can also be an issue and can cause scouring. If digestive disturbance or abortion occurs in animals foraging on fodder beets, use a lower nitrate feed.

Fodder beets have a risk of acidosis and ketosis. Low birthweights and mating concerns dictate that sows should only be fed silage containing limited amounts of fodder beet.

Injury from frost can be a concern for fodder beets. Once frozen, fodder beets will quickly rot in storage. When preparing for silage, remove leaves to within 2 – 4 inches of the top of the root or allow animals to forage the tops. If cut too close to the top of the root or damaged during processing, fodders beet will likely rot. As with most brassicas and broadleafs, risks are mitigated by gradually introducing a fodder beet diet.

Diseases

  • Bacterial Blight
  • Scab
  • Beet Curly Top Disease
  • Beet Western Yellows Virus
  • Cercospora Leaf Spot
  • Damping Off
  • Downy Mildew
  • Fusarium Yellow Root Rot
  • Powdery Mildew

Pests

  • Nematodes
  • Root-Knot Nematode
  • Darkling Beetle
  • Leafminers

Please Note:

All information provided is the result of research, our own experience, or the experiences shared by our customers.

We strongly encourage consulting additional resources before planting to ensure the best fit for your location and needs.

Questions or Advice
Share Your Experience

Please Note:

All information provided is the result of research, our own experience, or the experiences shared by our customers.

We strongly encourage consulting additional resources before planting to ensure the best fit for your location and needs.

Questions or Advice
Share Your Experience

Please Note:

All information provided is the result of research, our own experience, or the experiences shared by our customers.

We strongly encourage consulting additional resources before planting to ensure the best fit for your location and needs.

Questions or Advice
Share Your Experience