PANDEMIC DRIVEN: THE MILO MARKET IS ON FIRE
Milo, also known as grain sorghum, grows three to four feet in height with a large seed head.
The strength of milo markets grew with demand, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, the top use is bird feed. Because people were at home feeding birds, the bird feed market went off the charts, and the milo supply ran thin, but this year’s crop was in the ground so the supply was set, and farmers couldn’t plant any more.
The second biggest market? It was determined milo could be substituted for other dog food ingredients as a carbohydrate source.
Outside of the food market, finely ground milo is added to a potting mixture for mushroom production. Milo also makes good chicken feed for certain egg markets. Poultry farmers add milo to feed when they need lighter yellow yolks for use in such foods as mayonnaise and tartar sauce.
Milo’s food market includes humans as well. A Texas-based company makes a full line of milo breakfast cereals with everything from milo nuts, to flakes, to “Cheerios” and shredded strands.
Milo brings attributes for less fertile soils, resiliency for some less-than-ideal weather, and few pest problems. Milo can be grown on lighter, “white-oak ground.” With a fibrous root system, milo helps hold soil and breaks up compaction.
Farmers can rotate milo crops with soybeans and wheat. If milo is planted too thick, yields will suffer. A bag of milo seed costs $120 to $150 and will cover eight acres.
Given milo’s strong attributes for less-than-ideal conditions and the current strong market, more farmers may consider grain sorghum in their future.
This article was adapted from 2 recent articles written by Kay Shipman, FarmWeek