Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Sugar Beet and Copper  (Read 5599 times)


  • Joined Jan 2013
Sugar Beet and Copper
« on: November 04, 2016, 12:17:34 pm »
Our vet has had to advise us that Sugar Beet is high in copper and should not be fed to North Rons. We found out the hard way that it too much copper causes liver failure.

Our remaining sheep do like their treats of flaked peas and oats.

We have just found that there is a lick available from that helps bind copper. We are about to order some, but trials have shown it helps.

Please can you spread the word about Sugar Beet, I don't want anyone else to go through the loses we have.


  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: Sugar Beet and Copper
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2016, 12:56:57 pm »
Is this raw sugarbeet or pellets we are talking of? I always feed my sheep sugarbeet pellets whilst in lamb too and no side effects from it ever..... I was always told that the pellets are safe for sheep, cattle and pigs.
Here is something which may help....?
« Last Edit: November 04, 2016, 01:01:13 pm by waterbuffalofarmer »
the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, loving concern.


  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: Sugar Beet and Copper
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2016, 01:21:37 pm »
I fed pellets to mine all last winter as it said on the bag sheep could have them.


  • Joined Jan 2013
Re: Sugar Beet and Copper
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2016, 02:10:00 pm »
It was pellets.
It does say sheep can have them, but they are high in copper.
If your land is high in molybdenum you maybe ok - it binds the copper.

It took our vet a long time to work out where the copper came from

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Sugar Beet and Copper
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2016, 10:10:43 am »
Iron and molybdenum also inhibit the uptake of available copper.  You can't depend on this, though.  Weather conditions also appear to have an effect - works better in a dry Summer.  I believe Texels are also sensitive to copper.


  • Joined Nov 2017
Re: Sugar Beet and Copper
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2017, 10:48:33 pm »
hi I only just joined this site- I have north rons on the island. I give them very small amount pelleted sugarbeet and a friend only uses sugarbeet shreds- her argument is it is the MOLASSES that makes the sugarbeet high in copper, not the sugarbeet per se, so get unmolassed sugarbeet and it is probably no worse than flaked peas or barley for copper content. Same goes for ewe mix rations that have a high molasses content to improve energy levels and palatability- try to avoid.
Someone linked your post on another site, someone there commented sugarbeet was low in calcium (which is the exact opposite!). It can be hard to get real facts online but there are North Rons getting unmollased sugarbeet and are just fine- but only a very small amount of concentrate as all cereals contain some copper.
I have a Tub Ron from Denis Brinicombe- they never touch the blooming thing, but do like seaweed meal, which you can get from most horse feed merchants.


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Sugar Beet and Copper
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2018, 11:13:36 pm »
Just found this thread and although we don't have Ronnies, am keen to understand what is going on.

Lots of people use moiasses for sheep - to make hay or straw more palatable, in licks to provide minerals and energy, to provide sugar to ewes in the last 6-8 weeks of pregnancy.  If molasses contains copper then it should be used with caution or not at all for North Ronaldsays and possibly Texels too, shouldn't it?
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Sugar Beet and Copper
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2018, 11:42:12 pm »
Just found this thread and although we don't have Ronnies, am keen to understand what is going on.

Ditto - really to get a handle on this, we need to understand where the copper is coming from in the first place.

I could totally understand that waste distillery grains could be high in copper, since copper is always present in a distillation still, even if it's not the actual material of construction. (The copper itself plays a part in the process, and is itself eroded over time, so it would not surprise me if some of it ended up in the spent grain.)

Copper in sugar beet is more confusing though, since there won't be any copper used in at least the extraction part of the sugar making process, if not the whole thing. Are the beets themselves be naturally high in copper? It's hard to understand why they would be?
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett


  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Sugar Beet and Copper
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2018, 02:18:43 pm »
All plants have different mineral profiles.  Sugarbeet nuts have 7mg/kg of Copper in them, so are within the EU guidelines for sheep in general - I think the limit is 10mg/kg for copper sensitive breeds.


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