Everglades Station Mimeo REt-615- October, 1960
Progress report on the value of blackstrap molasses for
H. L. Chapman, Jr. and R. W. Kidder i/ 2 /
Results of grazing experiments at the Everglades Station have emphasized
the possible need for supplemental feed for beef cattle in the Everglaaes area
during the months of November through February. However, early studies have
indicated the limiting nutrient to be energy, rather than protein, when cattle
graze improved, well-managed pastures on organic soils of the Everglades.
The need for energy is often overlooked in emphasizing the nutritional
requirements of beef cows. Adequate information is unavailable to assess the
value of energy supplementation for these animals on pasture. Similarly, in-
formation is inadequate to evaluate locally produced blackstrap molasses for
beef cows. The purpose of this experiment is to determine, over a 3-5 year
period, the effect of blackstrap molasses, when fed as a supplement to past-
ure, upon the general performance and reproductive efficiency of cows and
their progeny; to determine if breed of cow alters the effect of the molasses;
and, to determine the economic value of the molasses. This is a preliminary
report of the first 9 months results.
This experiment was initiated December, 1959. Two hundred and thirty-
seven brood cows and two-year-old heifers were divided into three groups as
equally as possible regarding age, weight, breed and relative productivity.
One group was given no blackstrap molasses, one group received 5 pounds of
molasses per animal daily for 126 days and the third group given 5 pounds of
molasses daily, continuously throughout the year. The animals will remain
in their respective treatment groups for the duration of the experiment. Herd
sires will be rotated between treatments to minimize sire differences.
The experimental pastures were Roselawn St. Augustinegrass. These pastures
were fertilized and managed for optimum production. The cattle were rotated
every two weeks to minimize pasture differences.
The cows were fed the molasses twice weekly, at the average rate of 5
pounds per animal daily. A complete mineral was fed, free choice. The ex-
perimental animals were weighed on a quarter-annual basis, in December, March,
June and September.
1/ Associate Animal Nutritionist and Animal Husbandman, respectively, Everglades
Experiment Station, Belle Glade,,
2/ Appreciation is expressed t, L. Reyno for the invaluable assistance
given in establishing this .
3/Molasses for this study is nishe s pS.I. Sugar Corporation, Clewiston,
Results and discussion
The results of the first nine months of this experiment are presented in
Table one. The experiment was initiated on December 12, 1959 resulting in the
groups receiving the continuous and periodical molasses intake both having the
benefit cf molasses during the first winter of the study. The performance of
both of these groups was relatively equal through the date their calves were
weaned, June 20, 1960. The cows in both groups receiving molasses had a higher
average weight gain and produced calves having a higher average weaning weight
than the animals receiving no molasses. During the first breeding season there
was no effect of molasses treatment upon percent of conception in cows exposed
Table 1. Summary of weight changes and pregnancy
different rate of molasses intake.
percentages of cows on
molasses molasses No
intake intake molasses
Number of cows 79 78 80
Ave. initial weight (Ibs.) / 831 824 827
Ave. weight, 6-20-60 (lbs.) -' 897 897 859
Ave. weight gain (ibs.) 66 73 32
Ave. weight, 9-12-60 (lbs.) 999 973 956
Ave. weight gain (Ibs.) 168 149 129
Ave. weight of calves weaned
(Ibs.) 351 365 322
Percent pregnant, Aug. 1960 96.2 93.7 96.3
Ave. daily molasses consumption
Dec. 12, 1959-April 15, 1960 5.0 5.1 ---
April 15, 1960-Sept. 15, 1960 3.7 ---
I/ Date calves were weaned.
Since weaning time, it has not been possible to maintain an average daily
intake of 5 pounds of molasses per animal. However, there has been higher
average weight gain by the cows receiving the molasses during the summer as
compared to the other two groups.