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Emergency molasses supply could go to waste

Virginia Tapp, Tuesday December 3, 2013 - 07:29 EDT
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Cattle standing in a bare paddock, north of Julia Creek, Queensland. - ABC

Emergency reserves of molasses could sit unused in stock feed stores, following recent rain across the driest parts of Queensland.

The State Government negotiated for 6,500 tonnes of molasses, which is used as a feed supplement for cattle, to be set aside for drought-affected graziers rather than exported.

Last month, molasses was in such high demand that many feared the country's stocks would run dry before the drought broke, leaving thousands of head of cattle without a sufficient source of protein and energy.

However, falls of more than 100 millimetres in some areas of the West and North will now mean a drop in demand, as graziers could soon stop feeding molasses to cattle.

Queensland Agriculture Minister John McVeigh says the government was able to strike a deal with the Australian Sugar Milling Council due to the exceptional circumstances that many still face across much of the state.

"We just explained to the Sugar Milling Council the problems and the need for the molasses and they've been good enough to move it away from export markets."

Charters Towers stock feed supplier David Coleman says 6,500 tonnes of molasses is a good back up supply, but he's not sure he'll need it.

"We've purchased and stored enough molasses that we believe we will get through to the start of the next crush, though if there's a little bit in storage that helps as a good back up supply.

"I believe that as soon as they get reasonable relief rain, people will pull up as soon as they possibly can.

"They have been hurting with the long dry spell, so they will want to stop as soon as possible."


© ABC 2013

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