Molasses is a syrupy liquid produced during sugar production from sugar beet, sugar millet or sugar cane. It usually contains between 40 and 50 % sugar as well as a lot of sodium and potassium. Sugar cane and sugar beet molasses are important in feed production; sugar millet molasses is not used in feeding.
What is molasses actually?
Molasses is used both as a direct feed and for pelleting, whereby the latter is more important in horse feeding. In addition, molasses improves the taste and thus the acceptance of a feed. However, molasses often has the reputation among horse owners of being bad for the digestive tract, especially for the stomach. But this is not entirely true, because here, too, it depends on the quantity. Again and again one reads that molasses from sugar beets is supposed to cause allergic reactions. However, this has not yet been proven.
How does sugar affect the horse's stomach?
Since molasses has a relatively high sugar content, many horse owners are afraid that this will have a negative effect on the acid production in the stomach and that the increased stomach acid will increase the risk of stomach mucous membrane irritation or a stomach ulcer, or that molasses will have a negative effect on the blood sugar level. However, as the proportion of molasses in the feed is usually not much higher than 5 %, the fear of sugar is put into perspective.
In addition, sugar is also naturally contained in hay and the blood sugar level is also significantly affected by cereal starch. The great fear of molasses in horse feed is therefore relatively unfounded.