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What Is Grain Sorghum and Why Do I See It In Horse Feed?

Last updated on March 2, 2024

What is Grain Sorghum and Why Do I See It In Horse Feed?

The word “fillers” has become a dirty word in the world of horse supplements and feeds and often for good reason. Fillers are essentially ingredients- although usually edible- that typically have no nutritional value and are used solely for increasing the volume of the supplement so consumers believe they are getting a great deal. While some of that may be true, some filler ingredients have an actual use besides bulk. Today we’ll talk a little about grain sorghum and its use in horse supplements. Does grain sorghum have a place? After all, it is edible and it IS used in a variety of agricultural feeds.

We want you to know upfront that Animal Element does not use ANY fillers in their supplements, so don’t worry. But we want YOU to understand WHY so that you- as a smart consumer- can make informed and confident decisions about what goes into your horses’ feed program.

Reasons Grain Sorghum Is Used in SOME Horse Supplements

Grain sorghum (also known as milo) isn’t as common of a filler as other grains like corn, oats, or barley, but it is still present in many horse supplements and feeds. Grains are primarily used in supplements to increase digestibility. Sorghum is high in starch, which provides energy like corn but is much cheaper than corn. Therefore, grain sorghum is often used in place of, or in addition to, corn. It’s also a very heavy grain, which adds to the sellable weight and bulk of the supplement. Sorghum is typically used in the southwest, where other grains are harder to grow.

Grain Sorghum Can Mess With the Digestibility of Feed

Because of its heaviness, grain sorghum can be hard to digest. It’s suggested to feed it with bulkier grains to reduce the risk of colic or hind gut issues. A study done in Brazil in 2013 states, “that dry grain sorghum with high tannin content should not be included in concentrate feeds, since it decreases the protein and fiber digestibility.” [1] High quantities of grain sorghum in the diet can lead to digestive distress, which is most likely the main reason it isn’t a main filler ingredient. It’s also been noted that many horses find it to have an unpalatable taste.

So purchasing a supplement where sorghum is used as a filler may LOOK like a good buy, but the reality is that you’ll be getting a smaller amount of the active, helpful ingredients, and a bunch of heavy, digestion-inhibiting sorghum.

Animal Element Uses No Fillers

No grain sorghum (or any fillers) here. Yes, we realize that we could fill our packages full of cheap ingredient filler and even up the price, but our love for horses and commitment to quality and transparency at Animal Element simply won’t allow it. Sometimes, as a horse owner, that looks like you’re getting a smaller package for the money. But when you aren’t filling half of each scoop with filler ingredients like grain sorghum, it takes LESS supplement and less money to get the job done. 

At Animal Element, we make our supplements from safe and natural ingredients to support your animals’ overall health. Our horse supplement ingredients are high-quality products sourced from reputable providers. Every single one of the ingredients in Animal Element products is in there for a specific nutritional reason. We understand that we can’t offer our superior pet and horse supplements without starting with the best ingredients. We are transparent on WHAT is in every one of our horse supplements, and WHY they are included. In fact, we have a whole page on our website dedicated to the ingredients in our products. 

Have Questions? Ask Mark!

When shopping for a new horse supplement, be sure to read the labels and question why each ingredient is included. If you’re ready to check out our products, you can order directly from our website or a local dealer. If you have more questions about our products or want to sign up to be an authorized dealer, please contact Mark Kaylor at (509) 301-1798.

All content is intended for informational purposes only. Proudly written for Animal Element by the team at


  1. De Oliveira, Katia, et. al. “Nutritive value of high and low tannin content of sorghum high moisture silage for horses,” Faculdade de Zootecnia, Universidade Estadual Paulista, 2013. Accessed online at: on February 2024

2. Griffin, Ashley. “Grains for Horses and their Characteristics,”, Jan 20, 2020. Accessed online at: on February 2024