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

Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum L.)

Common name: Bajra

Family: Gramineae

Introduction: Bajra is popularly known as “pearl millet” and belongs to the family of Graminea. This grain is basically originated from India or Africa. Bajra is a coarse grain crops and considered to be the poor man’s staple nourishment and suitable to cultivate in dry lands. Major Bajra production states in India are: Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. Bajra can also used as valuable animal fodder. It is one of the major crops of China, India, South Eastern Asia, Sudan, Pakistan, Arabia, Russia & Nigeria.

Major Bajra Production States in India: Top Bajra producing state in Rajasthan followed by Maharashtra, Haryana, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. Top high yielding stats is Tamil Nadu.

Health Benefits of Bajra or Pearl Millet: Some of the health benefits of Bajra are given below.

  • Bajra is very good source of energy.
  • Bajra promotes heart health.
  • Bajra helps in reducing weight.
  • Bajra helps in digestion disorders.
  • Bajra may help in preventing cancer.
  • Bajra control blood sugar levels and hence good for diabetic.

Local Names of Bajra in India: Pearl Millet (English), Bajra (Hindi, Urdu, Panjabi) Sajje (Kannada), Kambu (Tamil), Kambam (Malyalam), Sajjalu (Telugu), Bajri (Rajasthani, Gujarati and Marathi).

Varieties:Following are the important varieties of the crop:




RHB-58, Pusa-444, PAC-903, RHB-154, Jawahar Bajra Variety-2, GHB-558, Pusa- 605, Nandi-32.

Ananta, GHB-526, Saburi, Nandi-35, Nandi-32, GK-1004.

Proagro No 1, Avika Bajra Chari.

Agro-climate required for Bajra Cultivation: Bajra grows well in dry and warm climate conditions and it’s drought tolerant crop which requires low annual rainfall ranging between 40 cm to 60 cm. Ideal temperature for bajra cultivation is between 20 oC to 30 oC. Moist weather is advantageous during its vegetable growth. In North India, bajra is grown as kharif crop and in some southern parts is grown as summer crop providing irrigation.

Soil requirement: Bajra can be grown in wider range of soil. However, It thrives best in black cotton soil, sandy loam soil having well drainage. This crop dose not prefer acidic and water logging soil. Avoid saturated soil for its cultivation. It grows successfully well in soil with low pH. Bajra can be easily grown in region where other crops like wheat and maize would not survive.

Seed treatment: The organo mercurial compound ceresin, agrosan should be used@ 2-3 kg/ha to control seed borne diseases.

Seed rate:  3-3.5 kg/ha for dibbling method and 4-5 kg/ha for drilling method

Spacing: Row to row 40-45 cm, plant to plant 10-12 cm and depth 2-3 cm.

Sowing Time: June to July

Manures and fertilisers: The fertiliser requirement of local varieties of Pearl millet can easily be met by the application of 10-15 tonnes of compost or farm yard manure per hectare. But the nutrient supply for the high yielding varieties and hybrids should be supplemented with inorganic fertilisers. Amount of fertiliser should be given on the basis of soil test value for maximum profit. General recommendations based on experimental finding s are 100-120 kg nitrogen, 40-60 kg P2O5 and 30-40 kg K2O per hectare. Half dose of nitrogen and full doses of phosphorus and potassium should be applied at the time of sowing in furrows approximately 3-5 centimetres below the seed. This can be done by placing fertilisers through a funnel and dropping the seed in the same furrow by hand wherever seed-cum-fertiliser drill are not available. The remaining nitrogen is top dressed in the two splits, one at the time of thinning (three to four weeks after sowing) and rest at ear formation stage. This dose of nitrogen can be withheld if moisture is limiting. In barani conditions foliar spray of 3% urea is also recommended.

Weed control: Competition with weeds could reduce yield by 25-25%. The important weeds that grow with pearl millet are: sathi (Trianthema portulacastrum), kewai (Digitaria sanguinalis), makra (Dactelocenium aegyptium), Anjan grass (Echinochloa colonum), doob (Cynodon dactylon) and motha (Cyperus rotundus. Chemical weed control is an effective and economical method in case of pearl millet. Pre-emergence application of atrazine at the rate of 0.5 kg a.i/ha controlled 71-96% of the broad leaved weeds and increased the yield by almost 30-40% over the unweeded control. Manual weeding is also recommended for perennial weeds.

Plant Protection:


Downy mildew: This disease is caused by Sclerospora graminicola. The fungus can be transmitted ascospores on the seed surface or as the mycelium in embryonic tissues of the seed. After germination the downy growth of the fungus is seen covering mostly the under surface of the leaf. Appearance of this disease at ear-emergence is known as “green-ear” as small green leaves replace grains in the earhead. Control: Infected seedlings should be roughed out and destroyed by burning. The seed must be treated with a mixture of 2g Emisan and 4g Thiram. Spray of Dithane Z 78 (0.2%) or copper oxychloride (.35%) has prove effective in controlling the disease. Ergot: This disease is caused by fungus Claviceps fusiformis Loveless. The disease first appear on the ears in the form of honey like pinkish liquid, which is full of fungus spores causing spread of the disease. Sclerotia in the soil germinate to produce ascospores which become air-born and infect individual florets through fresh stigma. Control:Cultural methods including intercropping , early sowing adjusting soil fertility and deep ploughing have proved to effective to prevent this disease. Spray the crop with 0.15% Ziram at boot leaf stage. Leaf blast (Pyricularia setariae): The symptom of this disease can be seen on the lower surface in the form of light to dark brown, boat shaped lesion. Control: Spray the crop with 0.2% Zineb two to three times to provide effective protection.

Insect Pests:

Shootfly: Early planting with onset of monsoon is effective in controlling shootfly incidence.

Two sprays of Endosulfan (0.07%) at 10 days and 20 days after germination.

White grub: Intercropping of pearl millet with pulses like greengram, clusterbean and cowpea significantly reduces the white grub damage. Mixing of Phorate or Carbofuran @ 12 Kg/ha with seed and apply in furrows at sowing time.

Grey weevil: Use Quanalphos 1.5%, Methyl parathion 2% and Fenvalerate 0.4% dust @ 25 Kg/ha effectively control grey weevil.

Harvesting: Generally crop are harvested September-October. Harvesting at physiological maturity or when a grains are hard enough having about 20 per cent moisture. The threshed grain should be clean and dried in sun to bring down the moisture content of grain to 12-14% for safe storage.

Yield: Under Irrigated condition, Grain-23-35 qtl/ha, Fodder-100-120 qtl/ha

Under Rainfed condition, Grain-12-15 qtl/ha, Fodder-70-75 qtl/ha

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Last Updated On:Monday 01 May 2017
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