A highly drought tolerant food crop, it is a staple food for many people in northern Nigeria and lower Sahel region. Due to its high tolerance, the yield is significant even on sandy soil with very low fertility that would have been unsuitable for other similar crops. Millet straw may be used as cooking fuel, bedding construct or even fed to livestock.
- Before growing millet, survey the land to ensure there are little or no Striga (a naturally occurring parasitic weed/plant that pose serious threat to cereal crops).
- Check the weather history for your farm location, places with annual rainfall of 250-750mm of rainfall give good yield.
- While millet can grow in sandy soil, it gives better yield in well-aerated light loamy soil.
- It is highly recommend you rotate with leguminous crops.
- Millet requires the land to prepared by tillage or harrowing. Tillage is very labourious, it is advised to consider mechanization (i.e harrowing by tractor).
- Sowing can be done on flat ground or on ridge, depending your your preference. Should you choose to plant on ridges, ensure that old ridges are replaced by new ones and that they are made on furrows.
- In many places where millet is traditionally grown, the soil are probably loose and sandy; hence, tillage may not be necessary.
One of the following varieties on improved millet seed will work just fine;
- Supa SOSAT, Ex-Borno (SAMMIL-1)
- LCRI-IC 9702
- SOSAT-C88 (LCIC-MV-1)
- Maiwa Composite (SAMMIL-4)
Click on the seed name to order from a dealer near you.
- In Nigeria, millet is usually planted in the month of July (usually when rain is fully established).
- To ensure the seed germinates right and establish good root, sow clean viable seeds. You can find out if a seed is viable by doing a growth test in small strip on your farm; if the growth rate is too low, then you need a new seed variety.
- Treat seed with appropriate dressing chemical before planting.
Here is how to:
- Put half of the seed quantity in a gourd or container.
- Pour the chemical on the seeds in the gourd/container.
- Then pour the rest of the seed, cover the gourd/container and thoroughly mix to ensure the chemical completely cover seeds.
- Ensure to wash your hands and cloths thoroughly after seed treatment.
- If you are using a contain instead of a gourd, ensure they are kept out of reach of humans and animals as it is hazardous; alternatively, dispose container correctly.
Other things to note;
- Optimum depth of sowing is 3-4cm in light soil, 2-3.5cm in medium soil, and 1.5-2cm in heavy soil.
- Recommended spacing between seeds is 75cm by 25cm or 90cm by 20cm.
- Recommend seed rate is 3-5kg per hectare and narrowed to 2 plants per stand at 2-3 weeks after sowing.