How to Grow Sorghum
Common name: great millet, durra, jowar, Sorghum.
Scientific name: Sorghum bicolor.
Origin: The origin of sorghum took place in North Eastern Africa.
Sorghum or jowar is one of the important food and fodder cereal crops. The nutritional value of sorghum is same as of that of corn and that is why it is gaining importance as livestock feed. Sorghum (or) Jowar is also used for ethanol production, producing grain alcohol, starch production, production of adhesives and paper other than being used as food and feed for livestock. Jowar (or) Sorghum cultivation is gaining popularity due to its nature of extreme drought tolerance. Sorghum is very nutritious just like corn and can be used as green fodder, dry fodder, hay or silage.
Some Indian varieties are PC-6, 9, 23, HC -171, 260 (Early to medium duration), U.P. Chari 1 & 2, CO-27 etc.
Basically jowar or sorghum is a tropical crop. It thrives well at a temperature between 25°C and 32°C but below 16°C is not good for the crop. Jowar crop requires rainfall about 40 cm annually. Jowar is extreme drought tolerant crop and recommended for dry regions. Too much of moist and pro longed dry conditions are not suitable for jowar cultivation.
Sorghum crop adapts wide range of soils but grows well in sandy loam soils having good drainage. Soil pH range of 6 to 7.5 is ideal for its cultivation and better growth. The main field should be ploughed and leveled to fine tilth for weeds free sowing.
One should avoid rocky field and 1-2 ploughing followed by 2 crosswise harrowing are required to prepare a good seed bed.
Seed rate and sowing method
Seed rate of 35-40 kg per hectare is well enough and sowing should be carried out by drilling @ rowtorow distance of 25 cm. Seed broadcasting should be avoided. The seed should not be sowed more than 2–3 cm depth.
Fertilizer Application (1 Hectare of land)
• FYM – 10-15 tone.
At the time of sowing, basal application of
• N – 60 Kg. • P2O5 – 40 kg. • K2O – 40 kg.
Apply 35 kg N/ha top dressing 1 month after sowing. 60-65 kg N/ha should be applied in low rainfall and rainfed areas at sowing time. In Sulphur deficient soils, 45-60 kg S/ha should be added.
If the crop is sown in monsoon time (July), it may require l to 3 irrigations depending upon rains. For summer crops, 6 to 7 irrigations may be carried out due to high temperature. Rabi season crops need about 4 to 5 irrigations. Critical stages of irrigation are (For Rabi season)
• 30-45 days (seedling elongation stage).
• 60-65 days (reproductive or heading stages).
• 70-75 days (panicle emergence).
• 90-95 days (grain development stage).
However, if only one irrigation is available, this should be applied just before booting (40-50 days) from flowering at 10 days interval or Dithane M 45 – 0.2 % + Bavistin 0.2 % twice at 10 days interval after commencement of flowering.
To control the weeds in Sorghum crop, weeder cum mulcher should be used to give 1 hoeing @ 3 weeks crop stage. Should use preemergence application of atrazine @ 0.50 kg/ha in 650 liters of water to control the weeds effectively.
Diseases and Insects
Sorghum crop prone to many insects and diseases. Insects/Pests in Sorghum are Stem borer, shootfly, & sorghum midge.
• Use spray of carbofuran/malathion @ 125 ml/ha, to control sorghum midge
• Use spray of endosulphan @ 0.075. Diseases in Sorghum are Sooty stripe, anthracnose and zonate leaf spot.
• Spray carbendazim @ 5 grams /liter water to control anthracnose disease in early stages.
• Summer sown crop is very prone to shoot fly. For this carbofuran 3G @ 3 to 4 kg/ha should be applied to control shoot fly at sowing time.
• To control or avoid stem borers, crop should be sown during July season. Using spray of endosulfan @ 0.05% , 2 to 3 times at 10 to 14 days interval is also effective.
• The crop will be ready in single cut varieties for harvesting @ 65 to 75 days after sowing (50%, flowering stage).
• In multi cut varieties, first cut should be done @ 45-50 days and subsequent cuts should be carried at 1 month intervals.
Good farm management practices and good variety of Sorghum/ Jowar can yield up 1000 kg/ha.
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