Millets like Jowar (Sorghum), Bajra (Pearl millets) and Ragi (Finger millets) are also called coarse grains. They are kharif crops and are chiefly rain-fed crops, requiring hardly any irrigational facilities. Unlike rice, they grow in less rainy areas in the following order- Ragi (Damp areas), Jowar (Moist areas), and Bajra (Dry areas). Ragi requires comparatively more rain and Bajra requires the drier parts India. India leads the world in production of millets. The region under these crops has not amplified. Millets have protein content higher than both wheat and rice individually.The millets are a group of small-seeded species of cereal crops or grains, widely grown around the world for food and fodder. They do not form a taxonomic group, but rather a functional or agronomic one. Their essential similarities are that they are small-seeded grasses grown in difficult production environments such as those at risk of drought. They have been in cultivation in East Asia for the last 10,000 years. Millets are warm-weather cereals with small grains and include six genera, i.e. Panicum, Setaria, Echinochloa, Pennisetum, Paspalum and Eleusine.
The protein content in millet is very close to that of wheat both provide about 11% protein by weight. Millets are rich in B vitamins, especially niacin, B6 and folic acid, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Millets contain no gluten, so they are not suitable for raised bread. When combined with wheat (or xanthan gum for those who have coeliac disease) they can be used for raised bread. Alone they are suited for flatbread. As none of the millets are closely related to wheat, they are appropriate foods for those with coeliac disease or other forms of allergies/intolerance of wheat. However, millets are also a mild thyroid peroxidase inhibitor and probably should not be consumed in great quantities by those with thyroid disease.
Millets are major food sources in arid and semi-arid regions of the world and feature in the traditional cuisine of many others. In Western India, Sorghum (called "Jowar" in Gujarati and Marathi) has been commonly used with millet flour (called "Bajari" in Western India) for hundreds of years to make the local staple flat bread (called "Rotla" in Gujarati or "Bhakri" in Marathi or Ragi Rotti in Kannada). Ragi Mudde is a popular meal in Southern India.
People with coeliac disease can replace certain gluten-containing cereals in their diets with millet. Millets are also used as bird and animal feed.
Millets are traditionally important grains used in brewing millet beer in some cultures. It is also the base ingredient for the distilled liquor rakshi in Nepal and the indigenous alcoholic drink of the Sherpa, Tamang, and Limbu people, tongba, in Eastern Nepal. Millet is also used to prepare the fermented drink boza.
Millet, along with birdseed is commonly used as fillings for juggling beanbags.
This crop is cultivated for grain as well as for fodder and as a pasture . In India, the crop is grown over 12 million hectares, representing 30 per cent of the acreage of the world and 11 per cent of the total cereal production in India.
There are several varieties evolved earlier during the development of hybrid bajra. The most important among them are : 'Co1', 'Co2', 'Co3', 'Co4', 'Co5', 'K1', 'X-3' , 'AKPi', 'AKP2', 'Bajra 207', 'Bajra 28-15', 'L-17 Baroda', 'Babapuri'; 'RSK' and 'RSJ' , 'T-55', 'A1/3', 'S. 350' ,'S. 530', 'S. 28' and 'Pusa Moti' produced by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute. Among them, 'HB3' is found to be excellent under rain-fed conditions, whereas 'HB4' was recommended for areas of adequate rainfall.
It is grown mostly during June to October and as a winter crop in March to June. Its range of adaptation is high under different day-lengths, temperatures and moisture stress. Most of the cultivars in India are relatively photo-insensitive as compared with the West African material which is highly photo-sensitive and very tall.
It is grown on a wide range of soils such as sandy loams and the light soils, heavy clays and very light soils and the shallow black, red and light soils. It is eminently suited to light soils.
It is grown as a pur or mixed crop and is rotated with cotton, sorghum, niger, wheat and in rabi with pulses as a mixed crop. It is grown along-with a wide varieties of oilseeds and pulses. It fits into an intensive cropping pattern of 3 or 4 crops per year where irrigation facilities exist. The preparation of land is done on a very limited scale, since the traditional areas of cultivation are of light texture. The crop is sown immediately after the onset of the monsoon in early June.
The spacing is normally 60 cm between the rows and 15 to 20 cm within the rows. The available data on plant population and nitrogen application have shown that the row spacing can be reduced to 25 or 30 cm with 8 to 10 cm within the rows, particularly with the dwarf hybrids. With the new hybrids, it has been found that it is possible to maintain a plant population of 1,75,000/ha. Sowings are done normally in June-July for the kharif crop and in October for the rabi crop. The recommended seed-rate is 5 kg/ha. With some of the new dwarf hybrids, the plant population can be further increased with a spacing of 30 cm between the rows and 8 cm within the rows. The optimum date of sowing is found to be early July for a better establishment of the plants and for reducing the incidence of downey mildew.
The average of the dry grain from the hybrid is around 20 to 25 q/ha as compared with an average of 3-1/2 quintals from the locals. With adequate soil moisture or irrigation, an average of 30-40 q/ha can be obtained. Although this crop is traditionally grown mixed with others, there is a shift toward its cultivation as a pure crop consequent upon the availability of new hybrids. Interculture done in the early stage up to four weeks after germination is adequate to suppress the weeds. The crop matures in October, with 50 per cent flowering completed in 48-55 days and maturity in 88 to 96 days. The photo-insensitivity of the male sterile line has been responsible for this behaviour of the hybride. Owing to serious damage by birds, bristled ears are favoured.
The crop is harvested close to the ground. However, the leaves of the hybrids are still green and can be used as fodder, when the locals are completely dry. The grain can be threshed after removing the ears from the harvested plants. The harvested crop is normally stacked for a few days. The dwarf hybrids are also suitable for harvesting with a combine.
The maximum yield recorded so far being 84 q/ha in Gujarat. The yield of straw varies from 12 to 90 q/ha. depending on the soil moisture. There are some fodder hybrids developed at Kanpur, e.g. 'KF665' and 'KF677', which are excellent in respect of yield and give 2 or 3 curs. Interspecific hybrids, such as 'Pusa Giant Napier' of the IARI and 'NB21' of Ludhiana, can be grown as semi-perennials with berseem as mixed crop.
The locals are rarely manured under arid conditions, but the recent data on the fertilizer response of the new hybrids have shown that the economic optimum doses are 40 kg/ha in severe drought-prone areas, 80 kg N/ha in areas of limited to adequate moisture and 100 kg/ha in regions of adequate rainfall, with a high retentivity of moisture. The foliar application of half the recommended doses of nitrogen is suggested in the areas of severe drought. Under limited moisture, the yields of the hybrid varied from 1.300 to 2,400 kg/ha, depending on the nitrogen dose.The application of zinc sulphate at 2 kg/ha is found to be essential in light soils owing to the wide-spread deficiency of this element.
Plant-protection measures are essential aginst shootfly, white grub, and recently against downey mildew and ergot. Seed treatment against downey mildew and ergot with Thiram in the seedling stage and Ziran in the flowering stage aginst downey mildew and ergot respectively, and Endosulfan against the shoot-fly and white grub are effective.
Sorghum (Sorghum vulgare Pers.), popularly known as johar is the most important food and fodder crop of dryland agriculture. The annual area under it ranges between 17 and 18 million hectares and the annual production between 8 and 10 million tonnes.
The sorghum grain is used primarily as human food in various forms, such as roti or bakri (unleavened bread), or is cooked like rice. Sorghums are also malted, popped and several local preparations are made. Green and dried fodder is the most important roughage for feeding cattle throughout the country. The utilization of grain sorghum as a cattle feed, poultry ration and other industrial uses is at present not very significant, although considerable scope exists.
Cultured under different seasonal, soil and climatic conditions, Indian sorghums exhibit a wide range of variability in respect of duration and grain quality. Most of the present-day improved varieties are the result of pureline selection practiced among the principle local varieties. Limited intervarietal hybridization, followed by selection, has primarily contributed to the combining of the then existing levels of grain yield with juicy stems to improve forage quality.
Notable among the varieties developed during this early period; and which are still under cultivation are the Co-series ,the Nandyal, Guntur, Ankapalle series, the PJ kharif and PJ rabi selections, Saoner, Ramkel, Aispuri, Maldandis (M. 35-1, M. 47-3 and M. 31-2) and Dagadi (compact-headed types) selections , the 'Bilichigan', 'Fulgar white', 'Fulgar yellow', 'Kanki Nandyal', 'Hagari' and 'Yenigar' varieties ,the 'Budhperio', 'Sundhia' and 'Chasatio'. In addition, there are several varieties for popping, parching and to suit special requirements. The age-old association and the consequent local preferences are the dominant reasons for their continued cultivation in spite of their erratic behaviour and low-yields.
The sorghum belt receives an annual rainfall ranging from 400-1,000 mm per annum, usually distributed between the last week of June and the first week of October in most parts of the country. Within the limits of the season, temperature fluctuations are limited and rarely handicap crop growth, except when the rabi sowings of the crop are unduly delayed in the Deccan plateau. Sorghums are grown during both kharif (July-November) and rabi (October-February) seasons, the rabi constituting 36-38% of the total acreage. In most of the states the kharif season is more important. Only a very small area of this crop about 4-5 per cent, is grown under irrigation, usually during summer (January-April).
Whereas there are no appreciable differences in the kharif and rabi acreages from year to year, the kharif production has shown an improving trend in recent years. The rabi production is static or, in some cases, there is even a declining impact on production in some selected areas. Whereas the impact is striking in selected areas, a widespread impact is yet to be felt.
Medium and deep black soils are predominantly suitable for growing sorghums. Whereas the rabi sorghums are wholly confined to black cotton soils, the kharif sorghums are grown on light soils also on a limited scale.
Sorghum cultivation still remains predominantly traditional in most parts of the country. The preparation of land with ploughs or blade harrows with least application of farmyard manure, line sowing with a seed-drill in rows 12-18 in apart and interculturing with bullock-drawn implements continue to be practiced and are very relevant even today. The factors which stand in the way of its production are the traditional late varieties which are drought-prone in years of submormal rainfall, the low crop stands and the absence of the use of fertilizers. Weed control may not be serious in black soils, but weeds are a limiting factor in kharif red soil. Even under rainfed conditions, the practice of sequence cropping is in vogue in areas of assured rainfall. Mung in kharif, followed by the rabi jowar, or the kharif jowar, followed by its ratoon or safflower, gram etc. are also becoming feasible, particularly with the introduction of short-duration varieties.
Harvesting and threshing are still carried out manually or with bullock power. Threshing by running a tractor or with power-operated threshers is practiced on a very limited scale. The harvested grain is sun-dried and storage is conventional.
The national average yields are still low and are around 500 kg/ha. However, the high-yielding hybrids and varieties yield 2,00-3,000 kg/ha under average growing conditions and the higher-order yields of 6,000-7,000 kg/ha are obtained under optimal conditions.
A two-year rotation of jowar-cotton is most common during kharif in the Deccan and central plateaux. The introduction of groundnut to make it a three-year rotation is more profitable. During rabi, the jowar-cotton, jowar-gram or jowar-jowar rotations are common. Variations are possible in specific areas. Mixed cropping of jowar-arhar (tur) is most common. Mixtures with mung, urid, mash, cowpea and even with bajra and other cereals, vegetables, etc. during kharif are practiced under different situations. During rabi the mixing of jowar and safflower is the most common practice.
The maggots bore into the shoot of young plants, a week after germination to about one month and as a result the central shoot dries up resulting in ?dead hearts?. If it is a little later the mother plant may produce side tillers. But the tillers also may be attacked. The infestation often goes as high as 60%.The fly infests wheat, maize, small millets and grasses, besides sorghum.
- (i)A higher seed rate is adopted and the affected seedlings are pulled out and destroyed.
- (ii) Application of 10% phorate (Thimet) or carbofuran 3% granules at the time of sowing at the rate of 2.5 kg a.i./ha.
- (iii) Spraying of endosulfan @ 0.07% or cypermethrin @ 0.005% or cartap hydrochloride 0.5 kg a.i. /ha or triazophos @ 0.5 kg a.i. /ha twice a week after sowing or during second week.Seed rate of @ 12 kg/ha may be followed and the infected plants are removed.
It is found in all places of India where sorghum is grown. It is also found to attack finger-millet, maize, pearl-millet, sugarcane and wild grasses.Presence of ?dead heart? in the early stages is the main symptom. The bore holes may be visible in contrast to the dead-heart caused by the stem fly. Later it acts as an internode borer and is found till the time of harvest. Yield is affected much and the quality of the fodder is also reduced. The damage caused to the crop by this pest is estimated to range between 70 ? 80 %.
- (i) Collection and destruction of the stubbles which are left in the field or heaped in one corner of the field since they act as a source of infestation, as the larvae hibernate in them.
- (ii) Spraying of carbaryl 0.1 % or endosulfan 0.07% thrice at an interval of 15 days from a month after sowing.
- (iii) Two whorl applications of 4 % endosulfan or 10 % carbaryl or 4% cartap hydrochloride granules, first at 5 kg /ha at 25 ? 30 days after crop emergence and second at 10 kg/ha 10 - 15 days later. If infestation is severe, three applications at 5.0, 7.5 and 10.0 kg/ha are recommended.
It has a world wide distribution and is considered to be one of the important pests of sorghum. The maggots feed on the developing grains and cause the developing grains to shrivel and severe infestation has a significant effect on the overall production of grains. The loss varies from 20 - 50 %.
- (i) Spraying of endosulfan 35 EC* 1 litre, or phosalone 35 EC 1 litre, or Malathion 50 EC 1 litre, or carbaryl 50WP 2 kg per hectare at nearly 90% ear-head emergence and repeated after 4 or 5 days.
- (ii) Phosalone 4% or endosulfan 4% or Malathion 5% or carbaryl 10% or quinalphos 1.5% dust at 12 kg/ha is also effective.
This plant is closely related to the weeds commonly found in dryland and sometimes in the rice fields. The yield of this crop is less than 400 kf/ha. This species is a quick-growing robust, tufted annual grass grown in kharif in most parts of the country and in rabi in the southernmost districts of Tamil Nadu and in parts of the Deccan. It can be grown even on higher altitudes up to a height of 2,000 m in the Himalayas. It is very drought resistant, but is also capable of withstanding water-logging.
Some of the improved varieties and strains, e.g. 'Ki', maturing in 115-120 days and yielding around 400 kg/ha as a mixed crop are found to be promising. However, intensive effort in breeding through hydridization is yet to be commenced.
Sowing with the onset of the monsoon during kharif eliminates shootfly attack and gives high yields. This practice involves no money but will require continued education to the farmers and propagation by extension agencies.
Since this crop is raised in soils of marginal fertility, the sowings commence in June, with the onset of the monsoon. It is harvested by September during kharif and by January and February if sown during October-November as a rabi crop. Since it is cultivated in very light soils, the land is given only a limited preparatory cultivation comprising two ploughings. The seed is broadcast or drilled at 8-10 kg/ha. It is raised as a pure crop or as a mixed crop with cotton, pigeon-pea or Dolichos or other short-duration pulses. The crop is seldom manured. However, in the Co-ordinated Trials during the past few years under the millet programme, yield levels up to 20 q/ha were recorded under better management in the same soil under barani (rainfed) conditions. When the crop is ripe, it is cut and stacked in the field for a week before threshing. The thresh ability of the grain is quite good.
The average yield of grain is 300-600 kg/ha and that of fodder and straw around 1,000 kg/ha. the dehusked grain can be cooked like rice or made into flour for porridge or chappatis. The fodder is considered to be poor in nutritional quality and is fed only under critical conditions of drought.