Commodities

With Unbeetable Feeds, Midwest Agri-Commodities finds a new market for sugarbeet co-products – Agweek

Livestock and pets across the country are getting a sweet upgrade to their diets thanks to an effort by a partnership of northern sugarbeet companies.

The bagged products, sold under the name Unbeetable Feeds, are a recent venture for Midwest Agri-Commodities, which was formed in 1979. The company is made up of Minn-Dak Farmer Co-op in Wahpeton, North Dakota, Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Co-op in Renville, Minnesota, American Crystal Sugar Co., based in Moorhead, Minnesota, and Michigan Sugar Co., in Bay City, Michigan, and has for decades sold sugarbeet co-products in bulk across North America, South America, Central America and Asia.

Beet pulp pellets, for example, are a popular feed used by dairy farmers as a structural carbohydrate, and are also widely used as an ingredient in the production of pet foods, according to the Unbeetable Feeds website.

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Bryan Edwardson, Midwest Agri-Commodities president

Contributed

Two years ago, Midwest Agri launched Unbeetable Feeds as a way to highlight products, such as beet shreds that besides being available for bulk purchases also are available in bags. Previously, the shreds weren’t marketed under a brand name that would bring attention to the product, said Bryan Edwardson, Midwest Agri president.

“Midwest Agri-Commodities didn’t exactly roll off of the tongue,” Edwardson said.

Unbeetable Feeds initially sold bagged sugarbeet pulp pellets, sugarbeet beet pulp shreds and sugarbeet shreds with molasses. It since has added a product called Forage Only.

The bags of sugarbeet pulp pellets, made from the fibrous part of beets that is left after the sugar and liquid have been removed and are pressed and dried, typically are sold to show cattle, goats and horse owners, Edwardson said.

The sugarbeet pulp pellets, which are sold in 50-pound bags, are available at national livestock and feed stores across the United States, including Fleet Farm, Runnings and Tractor Supply. The feed also is available at some local and regional feed stores.

The bags, shipped on pallets, allow a manageable package of feed for smaller ranches or farms that raise horses, cattle or other farm animals.

Unbeetable Feeds sugarbeet pulp shreds and sugarbeet pulp shreds with molasses, meanwhile, are available at retail feed stores in 30-pound bags. The shreds are fibrous flakes from sugarbeets after the sugar extraction process and dried to reduce the water content to about 9%, the company website said.

Most horse owners add water to both the beet pulp pellets and beet pulp shreds before feeding it to their horses to make the feed more palatable.

In September 2023 Unbeetable Feeds began selling in livestock feed stores a new product called Forage Only, which is made up of two-thirds alfalfa, one-third beet pulp and a pound of flax oil per 50-pound bags.

The stand-alone feed product was designed in response to horse owners’ concern that the sugar in grains can cause colic and ulcers in their animals, Edwardson said.

Forage Only is popular with performance horse owners, such as owners of rodeo horses. The feed is not fortified with vitamins, minerals and amino acids so the horse owners can tailor the addition of those depending on the horses’ needs.

“You finish it the way it works for your horse, your region,” Edwwardson said.

Molly Otto, a professional barrel racer from Grand Forks, North Dakota, feeds Forage Only to all six of her horses, including Rocky, the horse she’s currently riding on the 2024 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association circuit.

“My horses do really well on it. They really seem to like it,” Otto said. “I don’t really like to feed a lot of grain to my horses. It’s basically to add extra protein. I like that it has the flaxseed in it. The pellets are nice and small and the horses can eat them up easily.”

The Unbeetable Feeds Forage Only is convenient for horse owners like Otto who travel around the country with their horse because it’s widely available at livestock feed stores, Edwardson said.

“It’s a very nice, very high quality product they can buy anywhere in the country and use it to finish their horses. It’s priced cost effectively,” he said.

Unbeetable Feeds accounts for only a small part of the total volume of Midwest Agri’s sugarbeet co-product sales, but the revenue from the bagged products adds significantly to the company’s bottom line. That makes Unbeetable Feeds a winner.

“It’s grown a lot faster than I ever dreamed it would,” Edwardson said. “The feedback from the customers is universally positive.”

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