Ensiled sugar beets as dietary component and their effect on preference and dry matter intake by goats

Arch Anim Nutr. 2017 Aug;71(4):297-310. doi: 10.1080/1745039X.2017.1322795. Epub 2017 May 25.


This study examines the influence of ensiled sugar beets (Beta vulgaris ssp. vulgaris) on preference and short-time dry matter (DM) intake of goats. Whole sugar beets were ensiled either without any silage additive (sugar beet silage (SBS)) or with a chemical additive (6 l/t) containing 85% formic and propionic acids (treated sugar beet silage (TBS)) and were chopped after ensiling. The influence of different proportions of SBS (0%, 6.25%, 12.5%, 18.75% and 25% of dietary DM) and TBS (0%, 5%, 10%, 15% and 20% of DM) in partial mixed rations on short-time DM intake by goats (adult Saanen type wethers; n = 10) was studied in two separate, independent trials. Preference behaviour was investigated by offering the goats two different experimental diets per day and offer each possible combination of them (n = 10) once throughout the trial. On this basis, the mean DM intake (within 30 min and 3 h) of each experimental diet was determined. Both sugar beet silages showed good fermentation quality with low pH. By using the chemical silage additive, the production of ethanol was reduced and considerable amounts of sugar were preserved. In the short-term preference experiment, increasing concentrations of sugar beet silage in the ration increased DM intake (p < 0.05) in a linear way with a strong preference for those diets containing high amounts of sugar beet silage. Initial DM intake after 30 min was 4-5 fold increased for diets containing the highest beet concentration. It is assumed that the preference was positively influenced by sugar and sweet taste or the associated higher concentration of metabolisable energy.

Keywords: Feed intake; fermentation products; goats; ruminants; silage additives; sugar beet silage.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Beta vulgaris / chemistry*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Fermentation
  • Goats / physiology*
  • Male
  • Silage / analysis*