When the quantity and qualityof available feed becomes low, an energy source (as well as protein) isrequired. Molasses can be a cost-effective energy source but it is low inprotein.
Research and Grazingexperience have shown that molasses fed in open troughs with added protein canbe used successfully for drought feeding of cattle. Molasses lends itself tobulk handling methods suitable for drought feeding large numbers of stock.
Below is the composition ofMolasses
The basic composition ofmolasses is:
• Dry matter: 76%
• Sucrose: 46%
• Reducing sugars: 20%
• Protein: 5.6%
• Phosphorus: 0.07%
• Sulphur: 0.73%
Queensland molasses is grosslydeficient in protein, phosphorus and zinc. Copper and sodium are marginal.Other minerals exceed nutritional requirements. In terms of energy, 1kg ofmolasses is equivalent to 0.7kg grain.
Apart from extra protein therehave been no responses to additives for medium term drought feeding up to 6months, 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 ofprotein.
These are non-protein nitrogen(NPN) such as urea and true protein such as vegetable protein meals.
Urea is a cost-effectiveproduct for increasing the protein content of feeds, but the quality is lessthan that from vegetable protein meals.
Vegetable protein mealsprovide better quality protein to stock than urea. The total protein content,the amount of by-pass protein, amino acid composition and other factors such asenergy and fat content vary between vegetable protein meals.
Proteins highly protected byprocessing (e.g. cottonseed meal) or formalin are relatively insoluble in therumen (i.e. more by-pass protein). When digested by the animal they are ofhigher feed value compared to more soluble meals (e.g. rapeseed) that are easilybroken down by the rumen microbes.