Introduction: -Famous by its name “pearl millet” also known as Bajra belongs to Gramineae family. It is a coarse grain crop and is suitable to cultivate in drylands. Bajra becomes valuable as an animal fodder as well.
The major states producing Bajra are Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Haryana, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. The leading producer of Bajra is Tamil Nadu. Considering the whole world, it is one of the major crops of China, India, South-Eastern Asia, Sudan, Pakistan, Arabia, Russia and Nigeria.
Bajra has got a number of health benefits: –
- It is a very good source of energy.
- Good for the heart.
- Helps in reducing weight.
- Bajra helps in indigestion.
- Also helps in preventing cancer.
- It helps in controlling blood sugar hence beneficial for the diabetic person.
Bajra known in different languages:
Pearl Millet (English)
Bajri (Rajasthani, Gujarati and Marathi)
Some of the famous commercial varieties produced in India consists of ICM4- 155, VBH-4, NBH-149, MH-306, NH-338, MP-204, and MP-205.
Climate Requirement for Bajra: –
Bajra requires dry and warm climatic conditions. This crop tolerates drought conditions that require low rainfall annually ranging between 40 cm to 60 cm. For better cultivation of Bajra desired temperature lies between 20 ͦC to 30 ͦC. Moist weather complements during vegetative growth of Bajra. Bajra is grown and considered as Kharif crop for North India while being grown during summer in some of the southern parts of India following up by irrigation.
Soil Requirement in Bajra Farming: –
Bajra farming supports a wide range of soil thriving best in black cotton soil and sandy loam soil having good drainage. The acidic and water-logging soil is not supported by Bajra crop. Also, saturated soil should be avoided for the cultivation of Bajra. The soil, having low pH or high salinity the Bajra crop fruits well. In regions where cereal crops like Wheat and Maize cannot be grown easily or fail to survive, Bajra crop does.
Land Preparation for Bajra Farming: –
2 to 3 harrowing should be done there by plowing the field in such a way that the soil is made to form a fine tilth in the required land. Weeds must be destroyed at the time of field preparation so as to accommodate proper sowing and distribution of seed should be done keeping appropriate depth.
Seed Treatment, done in Bajra Farming: –
Ceresan which is an Organo mercurial compound along with Agrosan at the rate of 2 to 3 kg/ha should be applied in order to control seed-borne diseases.
Seed Rate and Spacing in Bajra Farming: –
The seed rate of Bajra goes approximately 3 to 3.5kg/ha when the dibbling method is done whereas the rate goes to 5 to 5.5kg/ha applying drilling method.
The row to row spacing should be 40 cm to 45 cm keeping distance of 10cm to 15 cm apart.
Sowing of seeds in Bajra Farming: –
Bajra seeds can be sown in the middle to last week of the month of July.
Weed Control in Bajra Farming: –
Thinning or filling of the gap should be done. Atrazine should be applied at the rate of 0.5kg/ha so as to control the weeds.
Manures and Fertilizers in Bajra Cultivation: –
As Bajra requires fewer nutrients and adding Farm Yard Manure or Compost helps in getting better yield and quality of seed. These organic manures should be applied at the time of soil preparation or land preparation so that the soil becomes fully decomposed at the time of sowing.
It is recommended to add the ratio of 90 to 100 kg of N: 50 to 60 kg of P: 50 to 60 kg of K solution for hybrid variety.
Split doses of fertilizers should be applied. As basal application full phosphorous and potash with half of the nitrogen application is used at the time of sowing. The 1/4th quantity of nitrogen should be applied after 30 to 60 days after sowing.
Pests and Diseases used in Bajra Farming: –
The major pests found in Bajra are Grasshoppers and stem bores which can be controlled by dusting the crop using BHC 5% or 2 sprays having a quantity of 2 liters of Eldrin 20 c.c. “Downy Mildew” is the main disease found in Bajra Farming. In order to control this disease, the seeds should be treated with a fungicide like M-45 at the rate of 2.0 kg/ha or Dithane Z-78 mixed up in 900 to 1000 liters of water.
Harvesting along with Threshing of Bajra: – The crops get matured when its grain become hardy and contain moisture. Harvesting can be carried out using two methods-
Cutting ear head
Cutting of entire plants by sticks
For 4 to 5 days the cut plants should be stalked in the sun for drying the grains. Then after grains can be separated by beating the ear heads.
The expected yield for rain-fed crops is about 12 to 16 quintals/ha and in case of the irrigated crop, the yield goes to 25 to 35 quintals/ha.