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Bajra (pearl millet)
India is the largest producer of Pearl Millet. It is locally known as bajra, and is primarily consumed in the states of Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat & Madhya Pradesh. Pearl Millet is well adapted to production systems characterized by drought, low soil fertility, and high temperature. It performs well in soils with high salinity or low pH. Because of its tolerance to difficult growing conditions, it can be grown in areas where other cereal crops, such as maize or wheat, would not survive.
In India bajra is grown over an area of 11.34 million hectares with total production of 5.5 million tons. It is grown everywhere in India. It is generally grown in the areas of low rainfall and in poor soils. Bajra is a rapid-growing warm weather crop suitable for areas with 40-75 centimeter of annual rainfall. For the vegetative growth of crop moist weather is useful. The crop does best under conditions of light shower followed by bright sunshine. The best temperature for growth of bajra is between 20-28 degree centigrade.
Pearl millet is an important small grain coarse cereal crop in India. Most of the crop is grown under rain fed conditions except summer season of Gujarat. It is grown by the farmers for Food, Feed and Fodder purpose. The Grain is used as a cereal for Roti making and root stocks is used both as green and dry fodder. The Green fodder of Bajra is very important feedstock for cattle ensuring good milk yield. Nowadays the grain is also mixed with corn for the poultry feed. It is grown in all the three seasons Summer, Kharif and Rabi season in India.
Pearl millet is the most widely grown. Pearl millet is well adapted to production system characterized by drought, low soil fertility, and high temperature. It performs well in soils with high salinity or low pH. Because of its tolerance to difficult growing conditions, It is an important forage crop of the arid and semi-arid regions of the country. It is fed to the cattle green or dry. Bajara is highly drought tolerant and can grow well in the areas with a rainfall of 25-75 cm. this is grown as s kharif crop in northern parts and also grown as summer crop in southern part of the country.
Pearl Millet is very sensitive to frost, therefore should not be planted early. Soil temperatures should be 12 degrees °C. Stands should be planted in the last week of May or the first week in June when soil temperatures reach 12 to 15 °C to ensure 2 cuts. If planted before the last week of July, one cut is possible. Plant in a well prepared, moist, firm seed bed in 35 cm (14 inch) rows, drilled at 1.25 cm (½ inch) depth at a seeding rate of 5.5 kilograms per hectare (5 pounds/acre). The seed is very small in size and to seed at the low recommended rate, it may be better to seed through the grass seed box than the grain drill box. It takes about 5 days to germinate and emerge. It starts off yellow and stays this colour for 8 to 10 days. It will stay at the 15 cm (6 inch) height for about 2 weeks, then begins growing rapidly. Pearl Millet has a great ability to tiller and 12 to 15 tillers per plant are common.
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