Fairfax Media Network

Weather News

Molasses malaise deepens with drought

Charlie McKillop, Thursday October 10, 2013 - 14:53 EDT
ABC image
Drought-stricken graziers in Queensland are becoming increasingly desperate as the supply of critical supplements such as molasses dries up - ABC

The sugar industry has defended its role in keeping up the supply of molasses to graziers feeding cattle in drought-stricken districts in Queensland.

As the end of the crushing season looms, there are fears the supply of the potentially life-saving supplement might dry up altogether as milling companies fulfil their export obligations.

The Australian Sugar Milling Council's Dominic Nolan says domestic buyers are always given first option on what has become an increasingly valuable part of the sugar production chain.

"We certainly understand the pressures that cattle producers are under," he said.


"There is a reality, however, around the commercial arrangements that can't be broken and a lot of cattle producers have locked in already, and that is the best way to make sure that access to molasses is there, when it's required."

"I understand there are still spot sales of molasses available from some mills around the state, so there is still some molasses available, but as we get to the end of the season, those supplies will be tightening up."

Mr Nolan has ruled out stockpiling molasses. He says sugar mills do not have storage capacity and cannot carry the risk of holding reserves that may or may not be sold once the current drought breaks.

Some beef producers in north-western Queensland are reporting delays of up to six weeks in getting molasses due to a lack of trucks to deliver it.

Mr Nolan says the best insurance policy a grazier can have is a farm storage tank.

"Molasses is very storable. It can be kept on properties for years, it doesn't go off in those circumstances and many cattle producers do do that. They store molasses on farm for use when they need it as a feeding supplement.

"It's just one of the inevitable challenges that we've got in dealing with dry and drought conditions and I think we're all looking at ways we can better manage those circumstances."


- ABC

© ABC 2013

More breaking news

Sydney Morning Herald
ABC News
National Nine News
News Limited

Display Your Local Weather

Weather News

Coalcliff: Three homes destroyed in fires fuelled by fierce winds

08:55 EST

Three houses have burnt down after a house fire spread to two neighbouring homes, fanned by strong winds on Lawrence Hargrave Drive in Coalcliff, 25 kilometres north of Wollongong, last night.

BOM issues NSW severe weather warning as Sydney hit by high winds

00:03 EST

Parts of NSW have been buffeted by high winds, with two people injured by flying building cladding, glass left shattered in a CBD high-rise and Sydney Airport forced to cancel flights.

Roofs removed as strongest wind in years lashes eastern NSW

13:30 EST

A wintry blast is bringing the strongest wind gusts in years and low level snow to parts of eastern and southeast Australia today.