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feeding stock beets?

3375 Views 24 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  Paquebot
stock beets r another old crop that seems workable with a minimum of labor. in the old days they were used quite a bit. i suppose they keep well enough to just store rather than ensile (ref. my other thread) i grew a few one time and they seem very productive.

anyone ever try using stock beets as more than just a supplement?
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I don't know what stock beets are, but the local "Spreckles Sugar(beet) Plant" feeds the left over slurry to the feed lot cows, around here...
I just received an order of Mammoth Red beet seeds, also called mangles, from Baker Creed Heirloom Seeds. I remember we raised these when I was a kid....a long time ago. I am going to plant 1/4 pound this spring and see how well they do here.
Randel all I've ever seen around here for Stock Feed other than Hay and Table Scrapes is Corn,stalks and all and Sorghum Cane.

When I was a kid Famers had the old Ear Corn Pickers,we would go behind the Pickers and get what they missed.Take the Corn to the mill have it ground,mix Alfalfa,Cotton Seed Mill,and Salt with it.Feed this to our Cattle to carry them through the Winter.

This was before we got a Combine.Then we would feed all kinds of Small Grains.

big rockpile

Mighty fine idea to use root crops for stock feed. I got started doing this many millennia ago when I was in college. Driving home (to the homestead) from university during harvest season was a frequent stop event to pick up the sugar beets fallen off the trucks. Chopped 'em up with an axe and fed 'em to the hogs. They disappeared so fast I couldn't keep up.

When they could the goats would steal some from the pig bucket and snarf 'em up. It got so I quit buying corn or COB and started growing roots. But then I also had a "relationship" with a couple of Taco Bell's. I figured three pigs per Taco Bell...fed 'em out just fine.

You're right that they store well...set up some space in your root cellar...or build one. Gosh, isn't that part or most of the reason for a root cellar? You stock will like it just fine.

Big Rockpile, I think you are like old you can't remember a childhood. Who are you kidding besides yourself? LOL

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Apparently they use mangel beets a lot for stock feed in England and Europe- in fact I think there was a post here recently about a nifty beet cutter that fit into a bucket and worked something like a potato masher. Heck, in the old days in Scotland they kept their cows on oats, potatoes, and cabbage all winter, no hay at all.
Abundant Life Seed co. sells mangels and the blurb says their cattle just love them.
Sounds like a good bet for feed- much more reliable than growing hay and like you said the storage would be sooo much easier.
One thing I haven't been able to find out about feeding root veggies and cabbage to cattle: exactly how small of pieces do you cut them into?
I have heard of this. The idea is to cut them into pieces small enough so that the animals will not choke if they swallow a lump whole.
Unregistered said:
Sounds like a good bet for feed- much more reliable than growing hay and like you said the storage would be sooo much easier.

????? I would have to disgree with the storage & reliable part. We farmers get paid very little for what we produce. Everyone wants cheap food, or import cheaper stuff from South America.... So we basically need to feed our livestock the cheapest & most reliable stuff we can.

Dry hay will store for a decade in a barn. You get 2-5 cuttings a year on hay, so if one cutting is small or too wet, at least you have multiple chances to get a good crop. Almost nothing outyields alfalfa for protien tonnage per acre.

Root crops are great, I don't want to discourage you from experimenting. :) However, you need to seed every year, you need to dig them up & knock the dirt off & store them in a cool dry place & they will go bad & at 70+ % moisture you need a lot more room than to store the same feed value of 18% moisture dry alfalfa. Also some livestock needs at least some long-stem roughage; using only soft foods like beets is hard on them - I'm not so familar with your size livestock. You will only be getting the root, wasiting the tops? They grow a lot of sugar beets north of me, and the disease problems that build up in the soil is really bad, they need to spray 3-10 times to fight the fungus & such.

I do grow 5 acres of turnips every year for my cattle to graze on. I think many of the crops you have suggested would make good grazing crops, and rely on hay over the winter. It makes a lot more ecconomic sense.

For the turnips, I plant oats, turnips, & red clover in early spring. I harvest the oats for grain, bale the straw, let the 'blow over' oats regrow along with the turnips & clover for a few weeks, and turn the cattle into it so they can harvest it. In late fall I plow it under, so I gain a bit of fertilizer from the clover & manure. Really use that land! :) And it is ready to graze about the time the pastures go dormant in the heat of summer.

This is not the _ideal_ way to handle the turnips, I end up cutting a lot of greens off with harvesting the oats. But I feel the multiple use works out better. The cattle get a variaty of stuff to graze to get their nutrition. They can eat the turnip leaves as well as the root. I do have to be careful about bloat with the clover in the mix, but as long as it is under 40% of the green stuff they eat & I manage it properly, works well.

Again, I'm just thinking out loud, for me in my area. Different ideas work too, and different climates often are very different & require different management. :)


(Boy the log-on of this site is bad, this is the third time I've written this, it never knows who I am....)
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I have no idea how good or bad these things are. I seem to remember reading that feeding too many root crops (tops more so) is risking an iodine deficency. Goiter from Brassicas if you want to search out info. Would it matter with a constant supply of iodised salt? Ohio state U has a good web page of info on feeding it. Looks interesting click here
i should probably mention that i don't have a tractor and don't expect to get one any time soon. so baling anything is out for me. digging doesnt scare me tho and i could imagine working a half acre pretty well, having come close to this before. i've grown some pretty good quantities of corn and handled them by hand but of course it needs to be in a rotation sequence. i do plan to have some pasture, maybe about an acre but need to tide my critters over our fairly short winters.

i tried feeding stock beets one year but the critters rebelled. but they weren't used to it and weren't raised on it.

i'm trying to gear my very small homestead to things i can mostly grow with a shovel, hoe and rake.
If you grow those enormous mangels/mangolds/mangel wurzels you can get different shaped ones. There are conical ones, which grow more or less like a super-sized carrot, and you have to dig out. There are also cylindrical ones, which grow pretty well on top of, sitting on the, ground. They don't need digging out.

P.S. Don't forget they are beet relatives. While they are growing, you can pull and cook leaves as if they were Swiss chard. Ditto tender young roots, as if they were beetroot or other root vegetables. Even fully mature roots, you can go on chopping, then steam and optionally mash.
yep. i grew the cylindrical ones and they were pullable. a shovel under em helped tho. i have no records but i think they proably weighed a good 5 lbs each or so. and the greens were as good as chard.
Just remember Randel when feeding any ruminant, rapid feed changes are risking big problems. Poli and bloat come to mind but certain poor feed utilization is going to be a problem too. Just consider how you're going to feed whatever you grow to minimize a too varied diet.
In central Illinois the extension service promote turnips as winter feed.The recommendation is to seed in August, when big enough graze tops ,remove livestock, let recover,graze again and let them dig roots.
The pasture trnips have radish size roots,but you can buy regular turnips
for the same price per pound.I had my mower on the tractor so didn,t disc first,so broadcast some ,came up decent where not compacted but not on compacted.
when I was a kid long time ago, our critters got mangels in winter, also turnips. there was a contraption with a crank that shreds them sort of. I have grown a few mangels in my garden, just to see how they would do, but my little cows and the goats turned up their noses. The mangels by the way did fine.
I read they make good rabbit feed so I raised some. The rabbits refuse to eat them. Even the guinea pigs won't eat them. I don't blame them, I wouldn't eat anything that color either.
I HAVe planted turnips for years for grazing. Purpil top white globe. I buy seed in 50lb bags. I will have about 70 acres this year most planted under sudan or forage cane which will be hayed and turnips grazed in the fall by the sheep and cattle. The largest turnip I weighed was about 7 lbs. It is great feed but the animals also need access to roughage and turnip digestiblity is around 85%.
I HAVe planted turnips for years for grazing. Purpil top white globe. I buy seed in 50lb bags. I will have about 70 acres this year most planted under sudan or forage cane which will be hayed and turnips grazed in the fall by the sheep and cattle. The largest turnip I weighed was about 7 lbs. It is great feed but the animals also need access to roughage and turnip digestiblity is around 85%.
How lot will these keep in the ground into winter? I'd love to cut my hay amounts by extending the grazing season just a bit.
I plant turnips here and we all eat them till they are under snow.
That's people dogs and rabbits. They don't look that good in the spring, but the rabbits still like them. I let some go to seed this year. I've had them grow to the size of a babys head. Toss one in the meat rabbits pen whole and usually they have eaten it by night time.
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Stock beets are mangels which are the same as sugar beets except less sugar. Cattle, chickens, deer, goats, horses, pigs, rabbits, and sheep all can thrive on them. A number of HT members have been growing them for some time. At one time, mangels were a prime winter feed for all farm life in Europe including the people. For dairy cattle, it supposedly makes the milk taste sweeter. On the other hand, turnips will give the milk an off taste if fed at the wrong time.

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