Common millets ( Proso Millet - Panicum miliaceum L. and Little Millet - Panicum sumatrense Boer.)
Common millets, otherwise known as Mineri consist of two grain sizes. Smaller type, the little millets normally lack uniformity in maturity resulting heavy grain losses due to shattering. Larger grained proso millets are more uniform in maturity and are capable of giving grain yields up to 4 tons in about 60 days. They are specially suitable for growing in yala season with the onset of the rains. Foxtail Millet (Setaria italica L. Beauv. & Schult.) and Kodo Millet - Paspalum scrobilatum L., both take over three months to mature and have yield potentials of over three tons per hectare. These cropss are known as the crops of the poorest of the poor. They are less important both economically and as a food due to poor yields and less popularity as food or feed.
Nutritive value %
Common millets and foxtail millets are used in indigenous medicine, foxtail millet is specially used in snake poisoning. New improved varieties are more suitable for both food and feed purposes.
Promising Varieties - MS 1491, AC 254, V62
Promising Varieties -ISC 480
Normally seeded at recommended spacing appropriate to individual crop.
Climate and Soil requirements
Deep, loamy, fertile soils, rich in organic matter, are preferred for satisfactory growth. Well-drained soils with adequate moisture supply are required for uninterrupted growth of this crop.By establishing the crops with the on-set of the rainy season, the crops can be harvested before depletion of soil moisture. They can be planted in maha similarly, as with other major crops that need 3-3 months to mature and a longer rainy season for uninterrupted growth.
Millets can be planted/seeded at 30cm apart and at two weeks to thin down to 7.5-10.0 cm distance within the row.
For minor millets, 5-6 kg of seed are required for one hectare of cultivation.
Time of planting
In Maha these crops can be raised as rainfed as well with supplementary irrigation when there are drought periods. Maha crop can be established with Maha rains that occur in latter part of September or first week of October for successful growth. Yala crops should be established with Yala rains that fall in later part of April. By timely cultivation pest problems can be reduced.
Weeds could be controlled by manual methods such as weeding and application pre- and post emergent weed killers. Crops need to be maintained weed free at least until flowering stage.
Fertilizer application (kg/ha)
During dry periods, irrigations are required every 4-7 days depending on the severity of the drought and type of soil.
Diseases and Insect pest control
Minor millets are less affected by diseases.
Harvesting & post-harvest technology
Crops are harvested, shelled and cleaned manually when grain moisture is low and after physiological maturity is reached. Seed moisture is lowered by sun drying to a safer level before shelling the seeds.
Post harvest technologies & food technologies
As post harvest facilities are yet to develop, except seed that need special attention and storage conditions, commercial grain are disposed as quickly as possible to avoid wastage by pest and diseases. As a result a fair priced to most products.
Economics & marketing
Extents (ha) and production (Mt) of Common Millets during 1996-2001
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