See more from this Session: Management of Bio-Energy and Other Crops
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Long Beach Convention Center, Exhibit Hall BC, Lower Level
Finger millet (Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn.) is a cereal grown for food in Africa and southern Asia (mainly
India ). It is adapted to a wide range of environments and has outstanding properties as a subsistence food crop with high nutrient content. It is an excellent livestock feed and makes good fodder which contains up to 61% total digestible nutrients. Yields of finger millet have been declining in recent years mainly due to lack of improved management practices, among many constraints. Yields as low as 0.4 kg ha-1 are been obtained in regions where it is grown. In India, average yields of 1.6 tons ha-1 have been obtained. A study was conducted under rainfed conditions in Manhattan, Kansas in 2009 to determine the effect of seeding rate and nitrogen (N) fertilizer application rates on growth and yield of finger millet. Three seeding rates (3.2, 6.0 and 9.0 kg ha-1) and four nitrogen fertilizer application rates (0, 30, 60 and 90 kg N ha-1) were tested in a split plot design with four replications. Main plots were seeding rates and sub plots were fertilizer rates. Results showed that there were significant differences (p<0.05) between the number of tillers produced per plant and grain yield under various treatments. Finger millet sown at a seeding rate of 6 kg ha-1 with nitrogen fertilizer application rate of 90 kg ha-1 produced an average of 6 tillers plant-1 and 2.5 tons ha-1 grain yield. Higher tiller numbers were however achieved at a lower seeding rate and higher N application rate. There was a significant interaction (p<0.05) between seeding rate and N application for tiller numbers. The study showed that improving management of finger millet by increasing seeding rate and N fertilizer application resulted in increased yields. These management practices can be adopted in regions where finger millet is already growing. Our research has shown that finger millet can be grown in Kansas. Research is underway to develop improved management practices and to evaluate its potential as a grain, forage and biofuel crop.
Keywords: Finger millet, seeding rate, nitrogen fertilizer rate, improved management practice