Monday, September 19, 2011

“Millet is farmer friendly cereal crop”-Dr.K.Govindaraju

Farmers' friendly millet cereals crop promoted by SEVAI
The mullets are farmers’ friendly cereal crop and are a group of small-seeded species of cereal crops or grains, widely grown around Tamilnadu for food and fodder. They do not form a taxonomic group, but rather a functional or agronomic one. Their essential similarities are that they are small-seeded grasses grown in difficult production environments such as those at risk of drought. They have been in cultivation in Tamilnadu for several decades. “Millet” is a name that has been applied to several different annual summer grasses used for hay, pasture, silage and grain. If properly managed millet can provide high yields of good quality. Millet is one of many seed grasses that can be used as a food source. The grain, similar in nutrient composition to corn, is richer in protein and fiber. Millet has been cultivated for thousands of years and is believed to be one of the first grains harvested by humans for food. Millet prefers hot, extended summers and does well growing in Tamilnadu. SEVAI target community farmers prepare the plots for planting and work in organic compost or a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. They plant the seed, spacing each individual seed approximately 2 inches apart and they make their rows at least 1 foot apart and cover with at least 1 inch of soil. The SEVAI target communities’ farmers add additional compost to the plot as the millet grows. Like corn, millet draws a lot of nitrogen from the soil. The farmers also mulch the plot with straw. This helps the soil retain water and cut down on pests. Harvest the millet when the grasses and seed heads have turned golden brown, Millet is harvested by hand. Millet is a classed as grain sorghum and is a popular ingredient in birdseed. Millet is being planted in any soil that can produce corn. Millet is cooked as porridge, a side dish similar to rice to make flour or meal. Normal average rainfall should take care of watering requirements to enable the grass to reach optimum growth. In the meantime, as the grass grows, it attracts more wildlife with the cover it affords. To save seeds the farmers cut the mature seed cluster from the stem....the mature seeds are being swollen and release easily from the cluster by simple rubbing. They are very small, roundish with pointed ends and light wheat colour and SEVAI farmers allow the seed head to dry for a few days to facilitate easy removal of the seeds. Once the seeds are released from the stem allow them to dry for a few more days before packing.-Govin

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