Historic note

Group Title: Mimeo report - University of Florida Range Cattle Station ; RCS66-2
Title: Blackstrap molasses for beef cattle feeding
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00074331/00001
 Material Information
Title: Blackstrap molasses for beef cattle feeding
Series Title: Mimeo report
Physical Description: 8, 1 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Chapman, H. L ( Herbert L. ), 1923-
Range Cattle Station, Ona
Publisher: Range Cattle Station
Place of Publication: Ona FL
Publication Date: 1965
Subject: Beef cattle -- Feeding and feeds -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Molasses as feed   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (leaf 9).
Statement of Responsibility: H.L. Chapman, Jr.
General Note: Caption title.
General Note: "November, 1965."
Funding: Mimeo report (Range Cattle Station, Ona) ;
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00074331
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 86118801

Table of Contents
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    Historic note
        Historic note
Full Text

Range Cattle Station November, 1965
Mimeo Report RCS66-2


H. L. Chapman, Jr.2/

In order for beef cattlemen in Florida to compete favorably

with other states and countries it will be necessary to make optimum

use of locally-produced feeds. One such example is blackstrap

molasses, an excellent source of energy. It has been estimated that

50,000,000 gallons will be produced annually in Florida by 1975.

A gallon of mill-run blackstrap weighs approximately 12 pounds,

so this means there will be approximately 600,000,000 pounds

o aly available carbohydrate-feed produced within the state.

The purpose of this report is to discuss the value of blackstrap

molasses for beef cattle feeding and to consider how it might be used by

the feed industry of Florida.


In order to properly evaluate blackstrap molasses it is necessary

to carefully define the specifications of the material being considered.

Blackstrap is the by-product (or end product)of either raw sugar

manufacture or sugar refining. It is the heavy viscous li quid separated

from the final low-grade massecuite from which no further sugar can

be crystalized by the usual method (7)1 /. The composition of black-

strap will be affected by variety and maturity of canes, climatic and

1/ Presented at Florida Nutrition Conference, Gainesville, Florida,
November 11, 1965.
2/ Animal Nutritionist and Head, Range Cattle Station, Ona.
3/ Numbers in parentheses refer to literature cit ed.

soil conditions and clarification technique. ilol!tsses coming from the

centrifuge varies from 85 T, 9:0 jr V 2S to 40 percent' sucrose,

12 to 35 percent reducing sugars 2.5 to 9.0 percent' crude pro'ein

and 7 to 15 percent ash (7). In addition molasses coming from the

Capi Sugar refining method will be higher in crude protein content

(10). The blackstrap molasses produced in Florida comes primarily

from canes grown on the organic .oil of south Florida. This molasses

will have from 7 to 9 percent of crude protein which is higher than

molasses produced in LouiSiano ol c ot5hoe.

Considerable lack of uniformity exists retjar'din.. grades and

definitions of molasses and care must be taken to define the composition

when defining a molasses or a molasses product. In addition to the

above variations molasses is often diluted with water to facilitate

pumping and this product has been termed "Cane Feeding Molasses"

by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. This is

defined as a "by-product of the manufacture of sugar from cane and

shall contain 48% or more of total sugar, expressed as invert sugar

and shall not contain less than 79.5 Brix". There have been

proposals during recent years to adopt a revised definition terming

this product "cane molasses fbr feeding" (5).

There are a number of available molasses products containing

various additives, such as urea, vitamin A, mineral elements,

phenothiazine, alcohol and fat. The composition of each of these

products should be carefully evaluated before using.

Nutritive Value

Molasses is a good source of readily available carbohydrates,

trace minerals, B-vitamins and unidentified growth factors. It is

a good vehicle for furnishing other supplemental materials such as

vitamins, minerals, fat, anthelmintics and drugs. Considerable

research has been conducted to determine the nutritive value of

blackstrap produced in other parts of the country and the results of

these have been summarized (9,11). During the past few years

workers at the Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations have

evaluated Florida-produced blackstrap molasses for beef cattle feeding

and a summary of this information is available (2). As previously

mentioned differences exist in the chemical composition of blackstrap

molasses produced from canes grown on organic soils as compared

to that produced on mineral soils (7,9). The source and composition

of molasses should be carefully determined.

Reports (4,9) have indicated that the relative cost should be the

decisive factor in deciding whether to feed blackstrap molasses or some

other energy feed and this is indeed an important factor. However, it

is also necessary to consider the composition of the overall diet in

deciding whether to utilize molasses in a ration. The molasses does

not have the ability to substitute for roughage.

It has been conclusively demonstrated that Florida-produced

blackstrap molasses will increase return above feed costs as compared

to pasture only with both cows and steers (1,2,3,6). Molasses has

been reported to have 75 to 85 percent the feeding value of corn

grain (11). In steer fattening trials on pasture at the Everglades

Station cane molasses produced 83 percent as much gain as dried

citrus pulp and 90 percent as much as ground snapped corn (1),

Cane molasses increased carcass grade, weight gain, dressing

percent and return above feed cost as compared to cattle on pasture

only (1,2).

Five pounds of mill-run blackstrap molasses per cow daily

increased conception rate oJ p.u-d0cet? heavier, higher grading

calves as compared to cows on pasture only (3). The same study

revealed that Brahman cattle benefited from the supplemental feed to

a larger degree than English breeds of cattle.

During the past 25 years there have been three times when the

price of blackstrap molasses has been high. These were World War

11, the Korean conflict and the Cuban crisis. In 1963, for example,

mill-run blackstrap molasses reached a peak price of $38.48 a ton

FOB the plant. In June 1964 it was valued at $21.37 a ton and has

remained near or below this figure since that time. The current

price of blackstrap molasses is approximately $16,50, FOB the

plant in tank car lots. (8).

During the research at the Everglades Experiment Stdion (3) it

would have been necessary to receive 28-30 cents per pound for calves

in order to pay for the cost of the molasses fed during the winter

months when blackstrap molasses cost $38.48 per ton. However,

when the molasses sold for $21.37 it would have been necessary to


receive 15 cents per pound t, pay 4f,- the nmolasses cost with the

increased production of calves weaned

The pastures used in the studies at the Everglades Station were

excellent and it is possible tlat greater benefit would have been obtained

had they been less optimum. There are other factors to consider in

determining the economics of molasses feeding. These include increased

carrying capacity of pastures due > providing 15 to 25 percent of

TDN requirements, ease of storage and handling due to being a

liquid, and the relative co the cost of other feed


Equipment Needed for Feeding Cattle

Since molasses is fluid it can be handled by pumping or by

gravity flow. It is adaptable to many types of equipment facilities. The

essential equipment in handling molasses for beef cattle includes storage

facilities, equipment to take molasses to the field and trough space to feed

the molasses in.

Trough soace. Molasses can be fed twice weekly to brood

cows with good results. This means one feeding should contain a

3-day supply of molasses and the other a 4-day supply or each

feeding a 3 1/2-day supply. Good results can be obtained by1

supplying an average intake of 5 pounds per animal per day. There-

fore trough space should be adequate to contain 20 pounds (or

approximately 1.75 gal.) of molasses per cow in the pasture. The

trough can be wood, metal or concrete. Used bathtubs are excellent

and are relatively cheap. If the troughs are light enough to be moved

easily it is more desirable.

One cubic foot at .apaoe wfll hold appiwaftSt ely 5 gallons of

liquid. A gallon of mill-run blacketrap moteaues will weigh approxi-

mately 12.0 pounds of mill-run blaokatrap imeliast Since adequate

volume should be provided to contain about 20 pounds of molasses/cow

a good rule-of-thumb is to provide one cubic foot of volume for every

4 cows in the pasture. This will provide about 12.5 percent more

trough volume than actually needed to feed 5.0 pounds/animal/day but

will allow for more flexibility in balancing trough space and cattle


Equipment for hLalina maaelaaes to the mature. Due to molasses

being liquid a number of types of equipment can be used to haul

molasses to the field. The primary prerequisites for this type of

equipment would be sufficient volume to fill a number of troughs with-

out being too heavy a load to handle easily in the pasture, that it have

approximately a 12" inlet at the top and a 6" outlet at the back to allow

the molasses to flow freely into the trough. The outlet at the back

can be a cut-off valve or a 6" pipe with a 90'elbow that can be

lowered or raised to regulate the flow of molasses.

The vehicle can be a water wagon, a small tank truck, a tank

mounted on a two-wheel or four-wheel wagon or any variation of

this type of arrangement. Some ranchers have used water wagons

and have left them in the pasture so that all they have had to do was

open the outlet valve twice a week. Molasses is adaptable to numerous



Storage facilities. This can also be of various types depending

upon available equipment. However, the average cattleman should

probably have facilities adequate to store a two-week supply of

molasses If 5 pounds are fed daily per cow this means approxi-

mately 6 gallons of storage space should be provided/cow being fed.

The storage tank should have a 12" inlet and 6" outlet and should

be 6 to 7 feet above the ground to allow the portable tanks to be

filled from the storage tank by gravity flow. The tank should be

located close to a good hard road with easy access for large trans-

port trucks that often weigh 35 tons, loaded

Potential Use in Mixed Feeds

In addition to having excellent nutritional value molasses has also

been shown to increase the utilization of low-quality roughage, help

minimize dustiness in mixed feeds, to be a good hinder in pellets,

and to increase palatability of feeds (9,11)

It can generally be used up to 10-15 percent of a mixed ration

without decreasing production in feedlot cattle. However blackstrap

molasses is one of the cheapest sources of available carbohydrates

in Florida and when used in a feed-mixture that is fed in limited

amounts to cattle on pasture a considerably higher percentage of

molasses can be used if compatible with the flow and storage qualities

of the feed mixture. The economics have not been satisfactorily

explored but there appears to be considerable potential in developing

a high-molasses feed mixture that could be used as a range supple-



For example another by-product of the sugar industry is bagasse

(7) Bagasse is a fibrous material that has been successfully used

in steer fattening experiments (3) as a source of roughage. It can

absorb large percentages of molasses and still flow freely. If econom-

ical procedures could be developed to appropriately process bagasse

it is conceivable that this could be used as a roughage base to absorb

relative large amounts of molasses, which in turn could be incorporated

with other feed ingredients for either a range supplement or a

fattening feed.


When properly used blackstrap is an excellent supplemental feed

for beef cattle. The economic feasibility of feeding molasses depends

upon the relationship between the cost of molasses to the cost of other

feeds and to the value of the increased production that -ao. ~iu:rL uted

to the supplemental feed Care should be taken to evaluate the

relationship between the cost of a supplemental feeding program and the

extra return rec ived in order to be sure of the economic soundness

of the feeding program. Also the composition of available forage and

the molasses should be evaluated to be sure they are balancing each

other nutritionally.

The amount of molasses to include in a mixed feed is usually

limited to approximately 15 percent. However, there is considerable

potential for using higher percentages of molasses in pasture supplements

if handling procedures can be devised.


Literature Cited

I Chapman, H. L., Jr. Cane molasses with and without fat or

cornmeal in pasture steer fattening program, Everglades Station

Mimeo Rpt. EES 65-16. 1965.

2, Chapman, H. L, Jr., R, W Kidder, W. G, Kirk, C E Haines,

T. W. Casselman and F. le Grand. Sugarcane and its by-products

for cattle feeding. Proc Fla. Soil and Crop Sci 1965, 486-497

3. Chapman, H, L., Jr R. W. Kidder, M Koger, J R. Crockett

and W. K. McPherson. Blackstrap molasses for beef cows Fla.

Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 701 (In progress of publication). 1965.

4. Godbey, E. G. and R. C. Edwards Comparison of blackstmp

molasses and ground snapped corn in wintering rations for beef

cattle. So. Car. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 477. 1960.

5. Crochet, S.L. Personal communication. 1964,

6. Kirk, W. G., E. M. Kelly, H.J. Fulford and H.E.Henderson.

Feeding value of citrus and blackstrap molasses for fattening

cattle. Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 575. 1956

7: Meade, George P. Spencer-Meade Cane Sugar Handbook, 9th

editioi.. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, N.Y. 1964.

8. Molasses Market News. Vol. 16, No. 38.

9. Morrison, F.B. Feeds and Feeding, 22nd Edition The Morrison

Publishing Co., Ithaca, N.Y. 1956

10. Putnam, P.A., M. Cisar and R.E.Davis. Growth and nitrogen

balance with steers fed Hi-N-molasses. J. Animal Science 23:

339. 1964.

11. Scott, M.L. Use of molasses in feeding farm animals. Review

and Ann. bibliography, Sugar Research Foundation, Inc., N.Y

Tech. Report Series No. 9. 1953


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not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
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record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
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