Sorghum (Barley) Cultivation

Sorghum,Sorghum Cultivation

Sorghum Cultivation

Family  :          Poaceae
Botanical Name  :           Sorghum Bicolor
Origin  :           India and Africa

Introduction Sorghum Cultivation

Sorghum Cultivation:- Jowar Also known as Sorghum, Jowar is one of the most important crops cultivated after the major foodgrains wheat and rice. It can be considered a staple grain in many areas. Sorghum is a crop of the tropical or subtropical region. It can also grow in arid regions. Jowar mainly cultivated for human food. It has many uses as animal feed too.

Climate for Sorghum Cultivation

Jowar crops grow well in hot and humid climates. Regions with high temperature throughout the year and humid conditions are ideally suited for growing Jowar plants. The ideal temperature for growing Jowar is 20-40 degree Celsius. You must not expose the crop to extreme temperatures though as it may affect the yield. An annual rainfall of 500-1000 mm is good for crop production. You must keep in mind not to expose the Jowar plants to cold or frost conditions as it may be harmful to the plants. Too much rainfall may lead to waterlogging which is also not good for the crop.

Soil for Sorghum Cultivation

Jowar can grow on almost any type of soil. However, you might get the best results in clay or loam soils. The ideal ph of the soil must be 5.5-8.0.

Seed Sowing for Sorghum Cultivation

Jowar is only propagated through seeds. Jowar cultivated in almost all seasons throughout the year. Commonly, the seeds are sown in summer, winter or monsoon. In case of monsoon, you must sow the seeds accordingly and just before the monsoon. The ideal time for monsoon crop is June to July. In case of winter crop, you must sow the seeds in October to November.

We can use any seed sowing method like drilling or dibbling to sow the seeds in the soil depending upon your field size. The seed rate for Jowar is 8-12 kg per hectare. You also must keep in mind not to overcrowd the field. The seeds are to sow in the furrows of the land. Before sowing the seeds, you must apply seed treatment with proper compounds. Only after that you may dry them and sow them. You also need to ensure that the seeds are sown 3-4 cm deep inside the soil. For providing a proper spacing, you need to maintain space between the plants and the rows as well. The ideal spacing is 45cm*20cm. Right after sowing the seeds you must apply a light irrigation.

Irrigation of Sorghum Cultivation

Jowar can usually sustain drought conditions. But during dry periods you must ensure that the soil has proper moisture for the plants to survive. Especially during the flowering and grain formation stage, you need to ensure that the crop receives enough irrigation and that it does not dry out. Some varieties of Jowar may tolerate mild waterlogging, but otherwise, you must never expose them to waterlogging conditions. For that, you must provide proper drainage system in the main field so that the excess water not retained. In monsoon, there is hardly any need to irrigate the field except for drainage of water. When the plants are young you can apply light irrigation just to make sure that they grow well.

Fertilizer Application of Sorghum Cultivation

Sorghum is an exhaustive crop and it depletes soil fertility very fast, if proper care is not taken. The fertilizer doses differ from type to type and nature of crop to be grown e.g. local varieties need less quantity than hybrid ones. Similarly, irrigated crop requires higher doses than rainfed ones no matter whether it is a local or high yielding variety. Considering all these points an optimum dose may be found out from the following details: an optimum dose of nitrogen for rainfed high yielding and local varieties of irrigated crop should be 60-80kg/ha while for irrigated high yielding varieties it should be between 120-150 kg/ha. In case of heavy soils one single application gives better results than split application but in case of light soils split application i.e. half basal and remaining half as top-dressing at knee-height stage or 30-35 days after sowing is preferred. Under low rainfall or in rainfed areas top-dressing of nitrogen is not required. On an average a dose of 40-60 kg P2O5/ha is found to be good. Placement at 4-6 cm depth has given better results. However, under normal conditions it is mostly basal placed. Potash at the rate of 40kg/ha applied at the time of field preparation gives good result.

Weed Management of Sorghum Cultivation

Manual weedings and hoeings help in solving the weed problem but it is possible only during rabi and arid cropping seasons while rains do not permit the manual weeding or hoeing during kharif season. Application of herbicides like atrazine @ 0.5 kg a.i./ha or Propazine @1.0 kg a.i./ha dissolved in 900-1000 liters of water, therefore, becomes obviously essential to control weeds. These herbicides should be applied before emergence of sorghum seedlings.

Disease of Sorghum Cultivation
  • Stem borer- lindane or carbaryl application in leaves
  • Shoot fly- seed treatment with disulfoton or carbofuran
  • Midge- endosulfan or lindane spray
  • Downy mildew- Dithane spray
  • Grain smut- seed treatment with agrosan or ceresan
  • Ergot- ziram application.

Apart from all the above mention control methods, you can also apply traditional methods to control such pests and diseases.

Harvesting in Sorghum Cultivation 

The high yielding varieties mature in about 100-120 days duration after which they are harvested. Generally two methods of harvesting i.e. either stalk-cut or cutting of earheads by sickles are employed. However, in foreign countries sorghum harvesters are used. In case of stock cut method the plants are cut from near the ground level, the stalks are tied into bundles of convenient removed from plants, while in later case the earheads, after their removal from the standing crop, are piled up on the threshing floor and after few days they are threshed. Threshing of earheds is done either by beating them with sticks or by trampling them under bullock’s feet. Later method is quicker and is practiced by majority of farmers who use to grow the crop on larger scale.

Yield in Sorghum Cultivation

The grain yield of improved varieties under assured water supply ranges between 25-35 quintals/ha and that of hay or karvi between 150-170 quintals/ha.

 Storage of Sorghum Cultivation

the harvested grains are sun-dried and storage is conventional.

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