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Maize / Finger Millet / Sorghum / Other Millets


Finger Millets

Introduction

On the contrary to maize, kurakkan is solely utilized for human consumption, gaining popularity as a relief food for diabetics. A shift in farming systems traditionally devoted to crop is seen due to more farmers favoring irrigated transplanted kurakkan cultivation to traditional rainfed farming which was liable to get damaged by frequent droughts. Yields per unit area land has increased due adoption of improved cultivation practices and at the same time land area cultivated has continually dropped due to shift from highlands to lowlands cultivated.


Nutitional vaues of finger millet

Moisture 
13.24 %
Protein
7.6 %
Carbohydrate 74.36 %
Fibre 1.52 %
Minerals 2.35 %
Fat 1.35 %
Energy 341.6 cal/100 g

Medicinal value
Finger millet is a popular food among diabetic patients in the country. Its slow digestion indicates low blood sugar levels after a finger millet diet thereby reacting as a safer food for diabetics.

Present status

Presently it is grown in Anuradapura, Monoragala, Hambantoda , Kegalla, Ratnapura , Nuweraliya Ampara Badulla and Jaffna districts

Recommended Varieties

Variety Days to maturity Year of released
Ravi
90 - 100 1992
Ravana 90 - 100
2002

Seeds of the varieties Ravi and Ravana are produced and distributed by the Department of Agriculture (DOA) as early maturity and high yielding varieties.

Varietal characteristics of Ravi and Ravana
Character Ravi Ravana
Plant
Growth habit erect erect
Height (cm)
105
96
Stem
Colour at flowering green
green
Nodal colour (at flowering) 
pigmented 
green
Number of culm branches
1-2 1.2
Number of basal tillers 3-4 2.3
Lodging susceptibility intermediate intermediate
Leaf
Colour green green
Sheath colour green green
Pubescence present Moderate
Flower
Days to 50% flowering 60-65 57-80
Ear
Ear type incurved
incurved
Ear size 3-4 cm
small
Spikes per ear 5-8 3.9
Finger branching
absent absent
Finger length (cm)
5-6 cm 5.5
Seeds per spikelet 5-6
4.9
Glume colour (at flowering)
green green
Glume colour (at maturity)
brown light brown
Days to mature
100 79-109
Synchrony of ear maturity non synchronous non synchronous
Seed
1000 seed weight 3.1
3.3
Seed coat colour
brown brown


Field Establishment
Climate and soil

Finger millet is an importent food crop grown in rainfed uplands in the Dry zone and Intermediate zone of Sri Lanka. It is one of the few crops that can be grown during in low land paddy fields during yala season if water logging is prevented. Finger millet grows wel in all well-drained soils but silt loams are the most desirable. It grows well on Reddish brown earth, Calcic red yellow latasols and sandy regosols.

Land preparation

a. Millets are traditionally grown on newly cleared chenas during maha season and are usually planted without land preparation
b. Higher yields can be obtained in cultivated fields if the soil is worked to a fine tilth with a disc harrow or mammoty
c. In upland seeds should be planted in moist soil and protected them biological hazards.
d. The raise beds or the basin systems can be adapted for irrigation.

Planting and spacing

a. Broad casing - millets are commonly sown by broadcasting
b. Row sowing - Row sowing permits easy weed control and higher yield. Sow seeds thinly in rows 30 cm apart for final spacing of one plant every 10-15 cm.
c. Transplanting -20-25 days old seedlings can be transplanted in rows 30 cm apart for a final spacing of one plant every 10-15 cm.
Tillering is reduced if over aged seedlings are transplanted.

Seed rate
Broad casting    6-8 kg/ha
Row seeding     3-4 kg/ha
Transplanting     2-3 kg/ha
Time of planting
Prepare the land with first maha showers and plant later part of October.

Crop Management
Fertilizer application

Basal     Urea    50 kg/ha

TSP     50 kg/ha
MOP    50 kg/ha
Top dressing- apply 50 kg /ha of Urea at 3-4 weeks after planting

Irrigation

After transplanting the seedlings, irricate the field once in every 4-5 days until seedlings are established .During dry period supplementary irrigation is provided at weekly intervels.

Weed control

Millet seedlings are slow growing and require a weed free environment for 45 days to develop vigorous plants. Seedlings in rows facilitates weed control.

Pest control

No severe insect pests have been reported on finger millet in Sri Lanka .But plants are damaged by stem borer during yala season.

Identification of damage - Typical dead hart in older plants larvae are found in the stem
Control- Chemical - (Diazinone , Furadan)

Desease

Blast (Pyricularia spp) : Plants are attected by blast mainly during maha season
Symptoms - Diamond shaped, greyish white lesions boardered by a brown margin develop on leaves. Seedlings may be killed under epidemic condition, empty fingers and broken pardicles

Control
- Avoid dense plant population
- Avoid heavy N fertilizer
- Chemical control (Benomyl, Edifenphos)


Harvesting & Post-harvest Technology
Yield
- 2-3 t/ha
- 80 % of the ears become brown in colour can be harvested
- Grains are seperated by threshing affter sun drying
- Sedd can be stred in sacks or gunny bags at room temperature for about one year without lossing viability


Economics & Marketing
Extent and production of finger millet during 1996 -2001

Year Extent (ha) Production (mt)
1996 6129
3906
1997 5562 3500
1998
6042 4385
1999 6483
4807
2000
6444 4849
2001 
5665
4212
The highest extent of 29,000 ha of finger millet was recorded in 1974 and there after declined sharply to the present extent of 5665 ha (2001). The total production and avarage yield is 4212 mt and 0.75 mt/ha respectively.

Exports and Imports of Finger millet

Year Export (kg) Imports (Mt)
1996 286
499
1997 9937
1254
1998
170
695
1999 111
277
2000
3195 552
Finger millet seeds are exported in small amount which is negligible . Import of finger millet seeds is as a fulfil of the pure seeds requiments of the industries due to shirtage of local products.

Cost of Cultivation for rainfed Kurakkan 2000/01
Operation Cost (RS./ha) Materials (Rs./ha) Total (Rs./ha)
Land Preparation 7128.42 - 7128.42
Seeding 
4691.27 269.30 4960.57
Fertilizer Application - - -
Weeding/Earthing 6526.97 - 6526.97
Harvest/Drawing/processing 
2463.82 - 2463.82
Total cost , inclusive of imputed cost
Total cost, without imputes cost
20810.49
899.62
269.30
51.50
21079.79
951.12
Related Information
Unit Quantity Unit Price (Rs.)
Seed kg 12.32 
21.85
Hired Labour md
1.96 185.82
Family Labour
md
43.38 -
Total
45.34

Average yield
1324 kg/ha
Price (Rs./kg)
24.36
Income (Rs.)
32515.47
Profit inclusive of imputed cost (Rs.) 11435.68
Profit, without imputed cost (Rs.) 
31564.35
Unit cost + imputed cost (Rs./kg)
15.92
Unit cost - imputed cost (Rs./kg)
0.72

 

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