NQ sugar mill reverses molasses export decision

Beef Central, 24/04/2020

Queensland Senator, Susan McDonald, has hailed “a win for people power” following MSF Sugar’s decision to now supply Australian customers with molasses to help feed beef and dairy stock through winter.

MSF had told its Australian customers that their molasses orders would not be considered in the 2020 cane crushing season which sparked widespread outrage among northern graziers and dairy farmers.

It is believed the company would only sell molasses to farmers who supplied cane to its mills in South Johnstone, Gordonvale and the Atherton Tablelands, and send the rest to Thailand where its parent company, Mitr Pohl, is located. 

But on Wednesday night after pressure from Senator McDonald, the media and consumers, the company reversed its stance and will send letters to customers advising them to place their molasses orders by May 30.

Senator McDonald congratulated MSF on its decision, saying it would be a huge relief for the North’s graziers and dairy industry.

Susan McDonald

She added she would still seek to have foreign ownership laws changed so Australian primary producers wouldn’t have to face a similar situation in the future.

“Molasses is a critical part of feeding cattle in the drier months and there were real fears that many graziers and dairy farmers would be pushed to the wall either by not having access to it or by having to pay extra to freight it up from southern mills,” she said.

“I commend MSF for its decision as it will be a huge relief for many people on the land.

“I’m on the record as saying foreign investment is a vital part of Australia’s entire agricultural sector, but we need to ensure that such investment benefits our domestic markets first and foremost.

“I will be discussing with Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg what the Morrison Government can do to ensure foreign ownership represents a fair deal for our farmers.”


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  1. John MUDGE, 28/04/2020

    Thank you Senator McDonald, and also to the owners of MSF for your intelligent reversal of your decision to not export molasses.Northern graziers rely heavily on molasses not only as a feed supplement but also as a herd managment tool.

  2. Bernie English, 27/04/2020

    Looks like there’s been a turnaround from these sugar millers on exporting all of their molasses, but a big North Qld. molasses delivery contractor, who delivers all over North Qld. today has told me that they have been notified they will have to put a $100 tonne deposit down to secure supply. (South Johnstone mill) So this contractor for 10,000 tonne is up for $1 million dollars up front deposit. Plus price has risen $100 tonne to $275 tonne inc. at mill. Freight and labour will have to be added to this price depending how far producers are from the mill which will make molasses expensive in North West Qld.
    The other big molasses supplier in Far North Qld is Tully mill and they have notified producers that this season’s molasses will rise $50 tonne .
    So news not all good.

  3. douglas hurst, 26/04/2020

    well done Senator: Foreign ownership of Australian Companies is non advantageous to Australian consumers, as this story well and truly illustrates. Foreign companies have vested interests, and their overseas owners are their priority.

  4. Peter Dunn, 24/04/2020

    Well done Senator McDonald, this reflects well on you but much less so on MSF. Although it is on a smaller scale, it is shades of the LPG industry being made, kicking and screaming, to look after the local market first before going after the big overseas dollars. Doing the same may not seem to some to be the epitome of being a profit driven enterprise, but if directors don’t understand the principle of looking after the hand that feeds you (ie., the Australian business sector which makes you welcome), then they too will have to be sent the same way as the LPG industry. To save time, perhaps we just need to change the foreign ownership legislation now, to make Australia’s position abundantly clear.

  5. Mike Teelow, 24/04/2020

    Congratulations Senator Susan McDonald on a Job well done
    This needs to apply to other sugar mills too We have to be careful and watch that these foreign companies do not push the price up so as we cannot afford it and they still export it because the farmer cannot afford it. One mill in my area have already told me they are going to increase the price

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