Millets - Sorghum, Pearl millet, Finger millet, Small millets (Barnyard, Common, Kodo,Little, Foxtail). All millets, Maize & Barley are known as Coarse cereals

Finger millet (Eleusine coracana L.)

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Common name: Ragi

Vernacular Names:  Finger millet (English), Ragi, Mandua, Nagli and kapai

Family: Gramineae

Introduction: Finger millet is important small millet grown in India. It is a staple food in many hilly regions of the country. It is grown both are grain and forage. Grains are rich in minerals and are the richest source of calcium used in many preparations like cakes, puddings, sweet etc. The green straw is suitable for making silage. It is also good for persons suffering from diabetes.

Climatic requirement: Finger millet is a crop tropical and subtropical climate and can be cultivated up to an altitude of 2100 m. It is heat loving plant and for its germination, the minimum temperature required is 8-10 0C. A mean temperature range of 26-29 0C during the growth is the best for proper development and good crop yield.

Soil: Finger millet can be grown on a wide adoptability to different soil from very poor to very fertile and can tolerate a certain degree of alkalinity. The best soil is alluvial, loamy and sandy soil with good drainage.

Seed rate: 8-10 kg/ha (line sowing)

4 kg/ha (transplanting)

Seed treatment: Seed treated with thiram @ 2.5 g/kg of seed. 

Sowing Time: Kharif- June to July

Rabi- September to October

Summer-January to February

Method of Sowing: Broadcasting, line sowing and transplanting.

Spacing: Row to row 20-25 cm, plant to plant 8-10 cm and depth 3-4 cm.

Manures and fertilisers:  Application of addition quantities of organic matter in finger millet soil is considered beneficial, science it helps to improve physical condition of soil which helps soil to retain moisture for a longer period of time. Manures are applied 5-10 t/ha FYM about a month before sowing. The crop responds well to fertilizer application. The general recommendation for finger millet is 60 kg nitrogen, 30 kg P2O5 and 30 kg K2O per hectare.

Varieties:Following are the important varieties of the crop:

Birsa Gourav, A-404, VL-149, VL-124, Godavari, Ratnagiri, Gujrat Nagli, PR-202 and Indaf-8.  

Water managementt: Finger millet sown during kharif generally does not need any irrigation. There are two critical growth stages for irrigation namely tillering stage and flowering stage. If rains stop for longer spell, then irrigation would be required to obtain good yield.

Important weeds: Among grassy  weeds, Echinochloa colonum, Enhinochloa crusgulli (sawan), Dactyloctenium aegypticum (makra), Elusine indica (kodo), Setaria glauca (banra), Cynodon dactylon (doob), Phragmites karka (narkul), Cyperus rotundus (motha), Sorghum  halepanse (banchari) are common. The broad-leaved weeds are Celosia argentia  (chilimil), Commelina benghalensis (kankoua), Phylanthus niruri (hulhul), Solanum nigrum (makoi) and Amaranthus viridis (chaulai).

Weed Control: It is essential to control weeds in the initial stage of plant growth and development. The inter-cultivation and weeding should be done with hand hoe at 25 DAS. Post-emergence application of 2,4-D sodium salt (80%) @ 0.75 kg a.i./ha at 20-25 DAS. Isoproturon @ 0.5 kg a.i. /ha as pre-emergence spray is also effective in weeds control.

Diseases and its control measure:

Blast (Piricularia fungi) - Infection of this disease may occur even in seedling stage with grey-green to yellow lesions forming on leaf blades. Grains of infected earheads are shrivelled and become light in weight.

Control- Seed treated with thiram or ceresan @ 2.5 g/kg of seed and grow resistant varieties namely VL-146, VL-149, Gautami and Sharda.

Downy mildew and seedling blight - sprays of 0.2% Zineb/ Mancozeb 75 WP                          

Insect-pests management:

Army worms and cut worms- Dusting of Malathion 5% @ 24 kg/ha or Endosulfan 4% @ 12kg/ha when symptoms are noticed.

Leaf aphid - Spraying of Dimethoate (0.05%) or Quinalphos (0.05%) or Endosulphan (0.07%) give effective control.

Stem borer - Spraying the crop with Dimethoate (0.05%) or Monocrotophos (0.04%) helps in pest control.

Harvesting: The crop matures in about 120-135 days depending on the tract and the variety. The ear heads are harvested with ordinary sickles and straw is cut close to ground. At some places under rainfed condition, the whole plant with ear head is cut, heaped and then threshed.

Yield: It is possible to harvest 20-25 qtl/ha of grain and 60-80 qtl/ha of fodder. The Straw of finger millet makes nutritious fodder. It can be conserved by putting up in well built stakes.

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Last Updated On:Monday 01 May 2017
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