Beginning the process, the beets are seed dressed to reduce the need for insecticides etc., are mechanically defoliated at harvest (with no chemicals) and brought into Wissington from the local farms. They are then washed, sliced and steeped in only hot water to remove the sugar.
The pulp shreds are then pressed and dried. Some countries use additives such as calcium sulphate, at this point, but this is not the case at Wissington; just mechanical pressing and hot air is used. Then they are pelleted. Again some processors use a pelleting aid at this point, but not Wissington.
The end product of this method is a pellet that has 95% of its sugar content removed with only the use of hot water, leaving an additive free product that British Horse Feeds can then turn in to Speedi-Beet.
Because no chemicals have been used in making the pellets at Wissington, everything left over from the process is used as a by-product to eliminate waste.
The washed off soil and stones go for topsoil and aggregate, the sugar rich water goes to produce products such as betaine (an important metabolite), bioethanol, and waste heat and carbon dioxide is capturedis piped to big greenhouses (40 acres). Here they use no insecticides or chemicals – only introducing biological systems (bees for pollination, species of wasps to attack whitefly) – and this gives us an indication of how green issues dominate the whole process from planting to finished product.
The product left for British Horse Feeds to use is a beet pulp that is less than 5% sugar, about 10% protein and 60% fibre.
This fibre profile is excellent for grazing animals, particularly for horses and ponies that are prone to laminitis.
British Horse Feeds create Speedi-Beet by using their patented micronization process involving just moisture and heat, again no chemicals whatsoever.
The way the beet has been shredded and processed gives Speedi-Beet a unique quality - it absorbs a lot more moisture than any other beet product on the market. Speedi-Beet can expand to hold five times its weight in water, which is a huge benefit in keeping equines hydrated throughout the year.
Hattie I’Anson, British Horse Feeds Sales Manager comments: “As well as the product being hydrating, our patented process has revolutionised how we prepare the beet pulp. It only takes 10 minutes with cold water to soak and only five with hot water. This was a vast improvement in convenience compared to the standard sugar beet pellets which needed 24 hours to soak.”
Fibre-Beet is a formulated blend containing all the benefits of the original Speedi-Beet product, with added high quality Alfalfa for optimum condition and to provide quality protein for muscle tone and function. It is a great super fibre conditioning feed that is soaked and ready to feed in only 45 minutes in cold water, or 15 minutes in warm water.
Back in 2008, Speedi-Beet won a Queen’s Award for Innovation and this year celebrated its 21st Anniversary. Will I’Anson said: “When we were launching Speedi-Beet, a lot of ideas, time, hard work and development was invested in creating this product, and 21 years later we are still using British produce and the efficient and green process to create the ‘original’ fast absorbing beet product, which is really close to our values as a company and why we believe it is the best.”