Can grain sorghum (milo) stalks be used to make hay for beef cows?

Yes, grain sorghum (milo) stalks can be mechanically harvested for hay. After the grain is harvested, milo stalks can be put in windrows and baled. Nutritional values will be approximately 7.5% crude protein, 52% TDN, 0.47 Mcal NEm/lb, 0.22 Mcal NEg/lb, 0.46% calcium, and 0.21% phosphorus. Depending on weather, season, and time allowed to dry in the windrow, moisture content can vary greatly. If baled above 15 to 20% moisture, the hay will probably mold. Nitrate concentration can be high in sorghum plants that are grown under stressed conditioned, making nitrate testing a wise management decision.

Expect cattle to sort through the stalk bales when fed in round bale feeders. This can cause an increase in forage wastage and the amount of feed inventory needed for the feeding period.

The protein and energy content should be able to sustain a non-lactating cow’s body weight during mid-gestation. However, during late gestation and lactation, supplementation for both protein and energy will be needed. How well this forage meets the nutrient needs of the cow can only be determined by a forage analysis. Consult your local Cooperative Extension agricultural agent, nutritionist, and/or feed provider when formulating cowherd diets.