Ing. Darina Havlíčková

By-products from the food industry are the most frequently used feedstuffs for horses along with grains. Food production facilities (mills, malt plants, sugar mills, oil pressing facilities, etc.) produce feed for farm animals as well as food for humans. This usually concerns the fibrous residue of the plants that are processed into foods.

When flour is processed in a mill, the by product of milling the grain and separating the flour (endosperm - the inner part of the grain) is the fibrous hull of the grain – wheat bran (exosperm). Some mills also produce rye bran, but its production is much less extensive than wheat and it is also not included in feeds as often, because it is of much poorer quality, provides less nourishment and is not as tasty as wheat bran. Wheat bran is an excellent feed for horses in reasonable quantities and is included in greater or smaller amounts in nearly all feeds for leisure and breeding horses. Bran is a source of tasty fibre (10 - 15% content), phosphorus and other biologically active substances and gluten-free proteins in feed mixtures or feed rations for horses. (You can read more about Energys wheat bran in the article on the About horses blog on our website at

Malt houses, which are closely linked to brewery operations, produce another very interesting feedstuff – spent grain. Spent grain comes from the germinated and dried barley malt and is a source of high-quality protein (around 24%), vitamins (A, group B, C), organic acids and enzymes. Spent grain is a tasty and nourishing feed, which horses enjoy eating, but can only be fed in limited quantities because it contains high volumes of protein. The disadvantage of this feedstuff is that it is considered doping in sports horses due to the content of hordenine. It should only be fed in limited quantities to foals and in-foal mares. (You can find more information in our special article on our About horses blog on Breweries also produce another important feedstuff – brewery yeast. Yeast is a protein feedstuff, which can only be fed to horses in quantities of up to 5% of the feed ration, and contains high-quality proteins, amino-acids and group B vitamins. This feedstuff is particularly suited for feeding to sports horses, where it acts as a probiotic (promotes colonisation of the large intestine by microbial populations) and also has an anabolic effect (promotes muscle growth).

Probably the most frequently used and most highly-discussed feed for horses is sugar-beet. Along with molasses, sugar-beet is a by-product of the sugar industry. After the sugar juice is removed in the sugar mill, all that is left of the sugar beet is the pure chopped fibre, which is called sugar-beet pulp. Sugar-beet pulp contains high-quality and easily digestible pectin fibre, which is partially digested in the small intestine of horses. It has a neutral flavour and low protein, saccharide and starch content. Sugar-beet pulp is very suitable for horses who need to be fed a low-saccharide or grain-free diet while maintaining good condition. Sugar-beet pulp is usually the basis of all moistened feed rations and mashes for senior horses and convalescing horses. The great operating and practical disadvantage of this feedstuff is that it swells. Dried sugar-beet pulp must only be fed after it has been carefully soaked, it could be dangerous to horses if fed dry (it could block the esophagus). This is why it is added in very limited quantities to pelleted feed mixtures, because these are fed dry (more in the article in our About horses blog at

Molasses is a syrupy brown liquid, with a high sugar content. It is used as a source of saccharides (it is better for horses than refined sugar) and also as a flavouring and binding agent in pelleted feed mixtures for horses. It is not fed separately very often, but rather as an ingredient in moistened feed rations or in pelleted feeds. It contains large amounts of potassium, so sodium must be added to feed rations when it is used. Only limited quantities can be fed, otherwise it may cause diarrhea. It is an excellent source of saccharides in feed mixtures for sports horses or for lactating mares.

Rape or sunflower pressings and extraction meals are produced during the manufacture and pressing of oilseeds (mainly rape and sunflower seeds). These are chiefly protein feeds and are only added in small quantities to feed rations for horses. They are suitable for young, breeding and sports horses, and must be supplemented with protein and lysine in feed rations.  extraction meals are divided according to the fibre/protein ratio they contain and are classified as feeds for individual categories of horses depending on this ratio.

Processed legumes for food and feed purposes can also be included in this category. The main global source of these is the soybean. Soy is an alternative food (meat substitute in human food) and is the basis of the feed industry for producing feed mixtures for cattle, poultry and pigs. It is a high-protein feed, which contains more or less (40-48%) protein. Soy and soy by-products from processing (soy extraction meals, soy protein, toasted soy, etc.) are mainly used in feeds for young and sports horses.

This feedstuff, which comes from the food industry, is a very important, high-quality and easily available ingredient in feeds and feed rations for horses. The fact that it is processed in food industry facilities, means that it usually has a high hygienic value and its origin is easily traced. On the contrary to dried bulk feeds (hay, dehydrated feeds and dehydrated alfalfa), soy by-products are usually supplied with the same and standard nutritional parameters.  We consider this feedstuff safe and suitable for practically all categories of horse.