GRAZIERS are concerned that a severe molasses shortage in Queensland will hamper their ability to feed livestock during the ongoing drought.
Fifth generation grazier Simon Stevenson, of Villamosa Station in Central Queensland’s Banana Shire, said the shortage was the worst he had encountered.
Mr Stevenson said while he had a small amount left to feed his cattle, he was shocked to find he was unable to source more of the energy dense feed on the open market throughout Queensland.
He said he had called contractors from the Atherton Tablelands, to Clermont and Wide Bay, and all had the same response.
“I’ve rang a couple of contractors and they all said the same thing, that they have a supply but they are running out fast and they’re only supplying current clients,” Mr Stevenson said.
“I think because the drought has gone so long out west the supplies are just about exhausted and what is there is all spoken for.”
Mr Stevenson runs about 700 Brahman breeders and Euro bulls on his 4250 hectares.
“It’s very dry where we are, it is drought declared at the northern end of the Banana Shire, we’ve been selling down cattle for the last three months trying to retain a base for breeding herd.
“We have a bit of molasses on hand, but we don’t know how long the drought is going to last.
“We do have cotton seed on hand, but it’s very expensive (at $640 a tonne) and we are saving that for later on when things get really desperate.
“The thing is the cattle need energy and they get that from the sugar in molasses.”
Mr Stevenson has been contacting both State, Federal and local MPs to bring the crisis to their attention.
He believes one solution to the problem could be setting up a reserve administered by local government.
“Council could have a storage facility and graziers could come and buy it from council, if there is any left once the drought breaks, they could sell it on to the feed lots.”