TWIN FALLS — While Amalgamated Sugar Co.'s processing plants are dedicated primarily to extracting sugar from the beet crop, the company also creates byproducts to be sold as livestock feed. About 10 percent of the company's receipts come from byproducts.
Leafy tops are whipped off mature sugar beet plants in the field before roots are dug. After harvest, the tops are turned under to add organic matter to the soil; sometimes growers instead turn cattle into the field after harvest to feed on the leaves.
The average root of a sugar beet plant contains about 17 percent sugar. The rest of the root is water and pulp, which is left after the bulk of the sugar is extracted at the factory. The wet pulp is pressed to extract whatever sugar is left and to remove excess water. The remaining byproduct, called pressed pulp, is sold to livestock producers and dairymen as a source of digestible fiber and nutrients. Amalgamated Sugar produces about 450,000 tons of pressed pulp each year.
Like any moist fodder, pressed pulp can mold, so it must be fed quickly or preserved. In some countries, pressed pulp is stored in a pit or silo and fermented, preserving it for fodder.
Taken one step further, pressed pulp can be squeezed a second time, then dried to about 10 percent moisture content. Dried pulp is a more stable product but more expensive to produce. Amalgamated Sugar makes about 230,000 tons of dried pulp annually in shredded or pelletized form.
Leafy tops and chunks of sugar beet separated at the front end of the factory are also sold as fodder. Amalgamated Sugar produces about 190,000 tons of tailings annually.
Sugar crystals are extracted from a "liquor" in the refining process, leaving a thick syrup called beet molasses. Molasses contains amino acids and minerals, making it ideal for dairy cattle. The sugar company produces about 35,000 tons of molasses each year.
Concentrated separator byproduct
CSB is a secondary molasses product after even more sugar is removed. Amalgamated Sugar annually produces about 110,000 tons of CSB as a supplement to mix with dry animal feed such as oats.
The sugar company also recovers betaine (trimethylglycine) from beet molasses using proprietary methods. Betaine, used as a feed supplement for poultry, swine and fish, is available in liquid or crystalline form and is sold domestically and internationally. Amalgamated Sugar produces about 10,000 tons of liquid betaine and 5,000 tons of crystalline betaine annually.