What is the difference between sugar and fodder beets

There are types of beets that are designed to feed animals, and there are those that are used for industrial processing and sugar production. What is the difference between sugar and fodder beets and what are the features of their cultivation, let's figure it out.

Beet Description

Beets are considered one of the most common vegetables in the world. There are a large number of root varieties, among which fodder and sugar species, which are distinguished by purpose, chemical composition, and cultivation characteristics, have won the greatest demand.

Important! The size of the leaves directly affects the size of the root crop. The more foliage, the more actively the process of photosynthesis takes place and the more intensively the vegetable grows.


Sugar beet is a technical sugar-bearing crop, which belongs to the cough family and is a two-year-old plant. In the first year of development, the vegetable forms a rather thick, elongated, cylindrical-shaped root crop of white color and lateral basal leaves. In the second year, the plant forms generative organs. The root system is presented in the form of a rod, where there is a main root and side roots growing from it, the length of which sometimes can reach up to 50 cm.

The leaves of the plant are thick, smooth, collected in a rosette, have a green or pale green color. The stems are strong, long, up to 1.5 m high. The culture blooms with small flowers collected in a loose spikelet. Fruits are small, in shape resembling nuts, collected 2-6 pieces in a cluster of glomeruli. The main purpose of sugar beets is sugar production, in rare cases - animal feed.

In many ways, the chemical composition of the vegetable and its taste will be determined by the conditions in which it is grown. Sugar beet is 75% water, the rest is sucrose, the amount of which can reach up to 20%. The root vegetable has a sweet taste and, in some cases, is used as a natural sweetener for desserts, pastries, jams.

Did you know? Sugar beets are the result of selection. At the beginning of the XIX century, the percentage of sucrose in it was only 5%. Annual breeding work allowed to increase this indicator to 20%, which, in turn, made it possible to significantly increase sugar production in the world.


Beetroot is a two-year-old plant that is used as food for animals, in particular cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, etc. In the first year of growth, the crop forms a root crop and a rosette of leaves located near the roots. In the second year, vegetative shoots are formed, giving further seeds and fruits. Depending on the species, the color of the beetroot can vary from yellow and orange to pink and purple. The root system of the plant is poorly developed, the main root is the stem, does not differ in large size and length.

Foliage in fodder varieties is less rich than in “sugar” representatives. The leaves have an ovoid shape, have a smooth, shiny surface, arranged horizontally. In comfortable conditions, the number of leaves on one plant can reach 20-30 pieces. Small flowers form on the upper parts of the shoots, which form a fruit in the ripening process - small glomeruli, each of which contains from 2 to 6 seeds.

Fodder beets in its composition contain about 89% of water, the rest is ash, proteins, fiber and fats. Root crops are characterized by good taste and high juice content, due to which they are a favorite delicacy of many animals. On the palate, fodder beets are a bit sugary and have a specific smell; therefore, they are not of particular nutritional value to humans.

Important! Feed beets are almost always larger than sugar in size and weight. If the weight of the first can be several kilograms, then the last - 500-800 g.

What is the difference between sugar beet and fodder

Sugar and fodder beets are most widely used in agriculture and production. Vegetables, in addition to differing in appearance, also have completely different chemical composition, vegetation period, etc.

In appearance

To distinguish fodder beets from sugar is quite simple visually. "Sugar" root crops have a more elongated conical shape, while the shape of the fodder is close to round, egg-shaped, can be spherical or cylindrical. In a sweet vegetable, the color of the fruit is white, while the color of the feed fruit is able to please with a wide range of colors - yellow, green, orange, pink, purple.

Another characteristic visual difference is foliage. The sugar representative has large foliage, represented by green or light green oval leaves. 25–30% of leaves grow less on a fodder root than on its sweet counterpart, while the color of the leaves is saturated green, with characteristic red sometimes raspberry streaks. The surface of the leaves is smooth, very shiny.

Chemical composition

All types of vegetables differ not only in visual qualities, but also in chemical composition. Of course, the main value of the sweet root crop is the increased content of sucrose, the amount of which can be 20%. Sugar in feed fruits is ten times less - 1-3% due to the smaller number of vascular fibers in which sucrose accumulates.

Did you know? In Russia, the maximum recorded record for fodder beet productivity was 172 tons per 1 ha.

Both vegetables contain carbohydrates, in particular fructose, glucose, galactose. Root crops intended for animal feeding contain an increased amount of protein - up to 9 g of protein per 1 kg of beets, while in sweet species it is very small - up to 0.012 g. Sweet vegetable is also a leader in energy value, the indicators of which are 0, 24 KE per 1 kg. In feed species, this figure is 0.12 KE.

By yield

It should be noted that in terms of productivity the palm belongs to fodder beets. Subject to the basic rules of agricultural technology, one hectare of land can produce from 30 to 60 tons. While the yield index of sweet fruits is several times lower and averages from 18 tons per hectare.

When ripening, the fruits of the sugar variety are completely located in the ground, which greatly complicates manual harvesting, but facilitates mechanized harvesting. Feed varieties are in the soil at 1/4 or 1/5 of the root length, and this fact complicates the harvesting using machines (combines, beet lifters), but makes it easier for manual work.

For the purpose of growing

The aim of growing fodder beet varieties is to obtain a valuable, nutritious, healthy, fortified vegetable, which is used in the daily diet of domestic and farm animals. At the same time, both the fruits of the plant and its greens are used as feed.

Important! Beet greens contain milk products, as well as a wide range of minerals and vitamins that are necessary to maintain good animal health, including high milk production of cows. Since sugar beets are considered a technical crop, its main purpose is the production of sugar. The cake that remains after processing is used to feed livestock. Note that even the excrement that forms after processing root crops is used as lime dressing.

According to the growing season

Differences between feed and sugar varieties exist in the vegetative period of plants. For a sweet fruit, it is necessary for ripening 140–170 days, but the ripening period of a forage crop varies in the range 110–150 days. Sugar beet seedlings are quite durable, strong, resistant to frost and can tolerate temperatures up to -8 ° C. Fodder root crops also have good resistance to low temperatures, but their maximum rate is -5 ° C.

As for the vegetative system of crops, they are almost identical. Plants bloom with small flowers of white color, which form small inflorescences on peduncles. Each inflorescence has 2-6 yellow flowers. As a rule, several full-fledged plants can grow from a single glomeruli during planting, which is not very profitable from the point of view of agricultural technology, since it complicates the process of thinning the culture.

By growing technology

You can understand the difference between sugar and feed varieties by examining the intricacies of growing crops. First of all, fodder beets are demanding on the quality, composition, soil acidity and irrigation. To achieve high yields, it is recommended to plant it on nutrient soils rich in organic substances with a neutral acidity level.

Did you know? During World War II, children were given baked sugar beets, which was considered a real delicacy, instead of sweets and other sweets.

The plant shows good fecundity with sufficient moisture. Under comfortable growing conditions, the weight of one fetus can reach 15 kg. Sweet beets are less demanding on soil and watering, but they need good, timely top dressing with organic and mineral fertilizers. Plants are planted in an identical manner. Also the same are the basic rules for caring for them.

To achieve high yields, a number of measures should be taken in a timely manner:

  • watering and moisturizing;
  • fertilizer application;
  • weeding from weeds and loosening of the soil;
  • spraying soil from weeds.

Features of choice

Any beet variety is distinguished by its unpretentious care, resistance to various environmental conditions, etc. Under these "modest" requirements, the vegetable provides an excellent crop of valuable and useful root crops, widely used in various fields: for animal feeding, sugar production, and nutrition people. A large selection of varieties allows you to choose the one that is optimal for certain climatic conditions and soil.

The most productive are the types of fodder beets, having a cylindrical, round or spherical shape. The most popular are such varieties as Lada, Voriak, Leitevitskaya, Ursus Poly, First-born. Among the sweet beets, it is worth paying attention to the varieties Nancy, Bohemia, Bon, Clarin, which are distinguished by a high content of sucrose.

Beetroot is a unique vegetable in its composition, which has general strengthening, regenerating, anti-inflammatory, diuretic properties. It is rich in B, P, PP vitamins, a complex of amino acids, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, organic acids.

  • The benefits of the vegetable are as follows:
  • improves digestion, promotes better metabolism, relieves constipation;
  • beneficial effect on blood formation processes;
  • positively affects the immune system, increases the body's resistance to external factors;
  • increases potency in men, improves the functioning of the reproductive system;
  • normalizes the functioning of the nervous system;
  • improves the cardiovascular system;
  • relieves insomnia;
  • cleanses the body, removes toxins and toxins.

Learn how to store beets for the winter at home.

Fodder and sugar beets are useful and unpretentious vegetables, which are characterized by high nutritional value, low maintenance, and long shelf life. Sweet varieties are grown in industrial volumes for the production of sugar, as well as for home use as the basis for some dishes. It is advisable to grow fodder beets if animals are kept on the farm. Such a root crop will become a useful, affordable and inexpensive feed used almost all year round.

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