When the quantity and quality of available feed becomes low, an energy source (as well as protein) is required. Molasses can be a cost-effective energy source but it is low in protein.
Research and Grazing experience have shown that molasses fed in open troughs with added protein can be used successfully for drought feeding of cattle. Molasses lends itself to bulk handling methods suitable for drought feeding large numbers of stock.
Below is the composition of Molasses
The basic composition of molasses is:
• Dry matter: 76%
• Sucrose: 46%
• Reducing sugars: 20%
• Protein: 5.6%
• Phosphorus: 0.07%
• Sulphur: 0.73%
Queensland molasses is grossly deficient in protein, phosphorus and zinc. Copper and sodium are marginal. Other minerals exceed nutritional requirements. In terms of energy, 1kg of molasses is equivalent to 0.7kg grain.
Apart from extra protein there have been no responses to additives for medium term drought feeding up to 6 months, unless in a recognized phosphorus deficient region.
Molasses must be fortified (have added protein) to balance the feed. Feeding straight molasses is not cost efficient.
Sources of Protein
There are two main types of protein.
These are non-protein nitrogen (NPN) such as urea and true protein such as vegetable protein meals.
Urea is a cost-effective product for increasing the protein content of feeds, but the quality is less than that from vegetable protein meals.
Vegetable protein meals provide better quality protein to stock than urea. The total protein content, the amount of by-pass protein, amino acid composition and other factors such as energy and fat content vary between vegetable protein meals.
Proteins highly protected by processing (e.g. cottonseed meal) or formalin are relatively insoluble in the rumen (i.e. more by-pass protein). When digested by the animal they are of higher feed value compared to more soluble meals (e.g. rapeseed) that are easily broken down by the rumen microbes.