Milo the New Corn for Pigs?

US - Many central US swine producers in recent years switched to a corn-based diet for their stock. That decision may now need to change.
calendar icon 27 November 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

"With our recent harvests, as well as the increasing demand for corn in ethanol production, corn prices have risen dramatically -- especially in comparison to milo's (grain sorghum). As a result, milo is emerging in many areas of Kansas as the more economical feed alternative," said Bob Goodband, swine specialist with Kansas State University Research and Extension.

He uses a long-established price-point "rule" to assess when milo becomes competitive. That rule suggests milo merits a serious look whenever its price is 96 percent or less of the market value of corn.

"In some locations, milo now is just 70 percent of the value of corn," Goodband said.

Pound for pound, milo can totally replace corn in all swine diets, he said. A milo variety's color (red, yellow, etc.) seems to have no impact on its nutrition. Average daily gains of pigs fed milo-based diets have proven to be similar to those of pigs fed a corn formulation.

Producers may want to consider, however, the fact that milo is a bit lower than corn in both energy and lysine content. Unless countered, this can lead to a small drop in feed efficiency.

"They might want to make a slight adjustment in soybean meal or synthetic amino acids," he said.

Milo has a small kernel that's much harder than corn's. So, proper processing is vital, Goodband warned. Roller mills are best for achieving the optimum particle size of 600 to 700 microns for meal diets.

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