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Milo, or sorghum, is one of the top cereal crops in the world. The United States is the leading producer of this ancient grain, where it is used primarily for cattle feed. Milo feed is gluten-free and a good source of protein, fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins, phosphorous, copper, manganese, and iron. It is also easy to grow in hot, dry climates.

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What Is Milo Used For?

Milo has a role in multiple applications. These include:

  • Flour making
  • Bioenergy production
  • Packing peanuts manufacturing
  • Mushroom cultivation

It is also being used as a:

  • Healthy sweetener
  • High-quality aquatic feed
  • Food source for deer and squirrels
  • Livestock feed
  • Birdseed filler

Milo grain comes in a variety of colors. While the nutritional values are similar, certain colors are used in specific applications. Tan, white, and cream-colored milo are used to make flour. Black and burgundy have antioxidants that make them ideal for other food applications, while red and white are used to make birdseed.

Milo Seed in Bird Seed

Large reddish milo seed is commonly used as a filler in birdseed. People who feed birdseed without understanding the difference between bird species might see the milo as nothing more than waste.

Small bird species like finches and chickadees prefer certain types of seeds that they eat from the feeder. Ground feeders like jays, thrashers, quails, large doves, and rock pigeons love milo and will often eat what other birds throw out onto the ground. Sometimes the milo gets left in the feeder to rot.

If you want to attract large birds to your backyard, feeding milo seed or ground feeder mix is ideal. If you want to discourage large birds and attract smaller species, opt for a milo- and millet-free variety mix like Rogue’s No Waste Wild Bird Seed.

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You should also consider whether squirrels are a problem at your feeders. Squirrels aren’t as choosy about the seed they eat as birds, so they often clean up the waste that ends up on the ground. Whether you feed milo on the ground or the birds throw it down, it could attract more squirrels to your feeder.

How Milo Is Used for Cattle

Milo isn’t only used as a feed grain for cattle — it is also used as a forage. Some farmers or ranchers let cattle graze milo in the field to save time and labor processing it. Increasingly, strip grazing is providing a solution for times of shortage.

What Is Milo Used for in Strip Grazing?

Strip grazing is a technique that allows livestock to graze on an allotment of forage for a short period. After a short time, an electric fence is moved forward to allow for a new allocation. This method might be used when there isn’t enough hay or prime pasture to get through the winter.

Strip grazing ensures better utilization of the milo crop. At the same time, it helps farmers maintain soil fertility. Using milo for strip grazing provides grain for cattle without the need for processing. Cows eat the grain heads off the plants along with a large portion of the plant. They only leave the lower portion of the stalks, which can then be baled into hay.

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Milo contains a large percentage of digestible nutrients that are similar to mid-quality hay. While milo is often substituted for cracked corn, it contains somewhat less protein than the latter grain. Farmers may choose to add a protein supplement to the cattle’s diet. Even then, the lower price of milo makes it a more economical choice than giving winter feed.

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Milo is a high-energy grain that is often fed to horses. Because of its heavy weight, it is typically mixed with bulkier feeds to prevent digestive issues such as colic. It is also used along with other energy feeds for other livestock such as sheep and hogs. Common energy feeds include corn, barley, oats, wheat, and rye.

Mushroom Growing with Milo

Another popular use of milo is for mushroom cultivation. The grain contains essential vitamins and minerals needed to promote speedy mycelium growth. Preparing the milo seed properly and creating a good grain spawn is essential for growing mushrooms. The process begins by making grain spawn using the following steps:

  1. Rinse and clean the milo grain.
  2. Soak in water for 12 to 24 hours.
  3. Cook the milo for 20 minutes so the grain absorbs the water.
  4. Drain the milo and blot it dry.
  5. Place the milo into canning jars and sterilize in a pressure canner for 90 min at 15 psi.

In addition to the grain spawn, you will still need a substrate or compost like sawdust, mulch, or straw. You can learn a number of techniques for growing mushrooms from The Essential Guide to Cultivating Mushrooms.

There are many ways and reasons for growing or using milo grain in commercial or private applications. If you are considering using milo in any of these applications, the sorghum seed for sale at Grange Co-op is appropriate for a wide range of uses.

Shop Grange Co-op for Milo Seed and More

Grange Co-op offers affordable milo seed for growing crops, adding to livestock feed, or for use in mushroom cultivation. We also carry high-quality milo-free birdseed to attract the birds you want to your yard and milo-free feed for livestock for those times when balanced nutrition is essential. If you have questions about our products, contact us using our online form.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>