Kinda scared to ask. What are input costs?
When would a person want to grow Milo?
In the 70's i worked for a guy with 2 4020's and he farmed 1400 acres and it was all milo.
This guy was tighter than hell and didn't make many mistakes. Looking for general education on the stuff. I know it itches like crazy and elevators quit taking it very early on.
The main reason is that corn became a much more productive crop with higher yielding hybrids and biotechnology. Milo has not seen same yield gains. Also, it sells at a discount to corn. However, because it is more drought tolerant milo is better for dry areas.
Tall Grass: What makes you think no one grows milo anymore? KS is the No. 1 producer. Ditto W. No. 2 cattle.
Ethanol plants prefer milo cuz it's cheaper than C.
The negative aspects of milo are:
1. It is prone too lodging...especially early maturities.
2. There is no RR milo, and I hope there never is...all we need is RR shattercane. Seed is cheaper than C, but chemicals can be more expensive. And, chemical choices are more limited than C.
3. Milo has 90% of the feed value of C...so theoretically...the price should be .9 x C, but basis is usually far worse.
4. Red/bronze milo has high levels of tannic acid which causes flavoring problems in pork. They only buy white/cream/yellow milos which typically...not always...yield less.
5. Unlike C, milo does not die when it reaches physiological maturity=Black Layer. Unless you kill it with glyphosate, it keeps growing until one of two things happens. 1. It sucks the subsoil dry. 2. Freeze kills it. It always combines better when it's dead. The combine fan can blow the trash out easier vs when it's green.
Milo is a good crop for areas that receive less rainfall than the CB cuz it's drought tolerant. BUT, it's not drought tolerant once it goes into the reproductive stage. Arid farming areas depend on subsoil moisture tremendously. And, as I mentioned before, it keeps sucking the subsoil dry after crop maturity until a freeze kills it. It's almost as bad as that noxious weed called sunflowers...except...milo only sucks the subsoil dry 4' whereas flowers suck it dry 9'. And, if that weren't bad enough...flowers exude a resin which causes the ground to blow...which it does anyway cuz there's no residue. But...I digress. lol.
6. SB are MORE drought tolerant than milo. The price is far better. Plus, you grow your own N. Plus, they die naturally at maturity and don't suck the profile dry.
7. Some say red/bronze milo is resistant to birds cuz of it's high tannic acid. Don't believe it. The sky can turn black with black birds over a milo field.
If you are cow-calf, milo stalks are far superior to corn stalks for winter grazing. And...winter feed is one of the biggest costs for cow-calf. You still have to grow some cane hay back up for when the stalks are full of snow.
Another plus for milo: once it gets past the seedling stage, it is resistant to grasshoppers while high sugar C is not.
And...with the current La Nina in force, C farmers in arid areas prolly should be thinking about milo instead of C. And, right now the price...basis...is not criminal like it usually is.
AND...if you lose money on the crop, you can always charge pheasant hunters $200/gun for 4 hr. Pheasants love milo above all other crops. lol.
The input costs of fert and chemicals are exactly the same as C. The seed is dirt cheap compared to C. Also, you load the planter up and plant milo all day. You don't have to stop and refill all the time.
Tall Grass: C is always harvested before milo. That means the elevators fill up with C before the M is ready to cut. So, they pile M on the ground...just like they do C. But, they tarp the C...not the M. When it rains or snows then melts, the M forms a crust that will shed future moisture. Then, they're done. They won't pile any more M on the pile. If you have your own storage, you definitely have to have the foliage dead before you bin it. Otherwise, you will have chunks of green stem that the grain will absorb moisture out of. Also, it is hard to blow air thru small seeded M vs C. I have a neighbor who screens it just for this reason...plus Seaboard pays him a premium for the clean grain...cream/white/yellow M only...no red/bronze.