Outcome of Molasses as an alternative energy feed source for organic dairies

In general, molasses performed similarly to corn meal at low levels of supplementation. Both supplements performed only marginally better in ruminal fermentation than an all-pasture diet. While greater levels of molasses supplementation may alter the results, cost of feeding as well as possible detrimental effects of too much sugar in the rumen must be considered. The decision to feed low levels of molasses or corn meal as an energy supplement to grazing dairy cows should be based, in part, on the cost of each feed on a DM basis. In the feeding study reported here, income over feed costs were within 1% of each other when comparing supplements, suggesting that molasses was competitive with corn meal in providing supplemental energy to organic grazing dairy cows as long as similar levels of milk production are maintained. However, significant changes in molasses or corn meal prices may dictate the economic feasibility of utilizing molasses as a substitute for organic corn meal and must be considered on an individual basis.