In addition to processing pure beet sugar, sugar factories produce a co-product known as dried beet pulp. Pulp is the dried fiber residue left after most of the sugar has been extracted from the sliced beets. Dried beet pulp is typically sold as either a shred (with or without molasses added) or in pellet form. This excellent feed is not only valued by dairy farmers as a stimulant to milk production but is also widely used in the feeding of beef cattle and sheep and in the production of pet foods.
Another co-product from beet sugar processing is beet molasses. Beet molasses is also the basic raw material for the chromatographic separation process, which is a method of extracting additional sugar from the molasses. Beet molasses is used for production of yeast, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, as well as in the production of mixed cattle feeds. It is acknowledged as being one of the best mediums for liquid cattle feed.
A co-product of this chromatographic separation process is separator molasses solubles (SMS), which is molasses solids with most of the sugar removed. This product is used primarily in liquid feed manufacture but is also finding uses in some specialty processes such as road de-icing and as tire ballast.
Raffinate is an excellent source of energy and a good source of protein and some essential minerals. In growing and finishing diets, it can be added in total mixed rations or blended with other liquid ingredients for a liquid feed. For beef cows and back rounding, it can be top-dressed to improve palatability of poor hay or cornstalks. Raffinate, commonly referred to as “beet juice,” also is an effective de-icing agent for roadways and a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional road salt.
SMBSC’s co-products of pulp products, molasses, SMS, and raffinate are marketed by Midwest Agri-Commodities (MAC). MAC is a marketing cooperative headquartered in San Rafael, California comprised of Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative, Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative, American Crystal Sugar Company, and Michigan Sugar Company. Additional co-product information and sales contact information can be obtained on MAC’s website.