Sesame / Gingili / Till belongs to the Pedaliaceae family. It is also called Til, Ellu, Nuvvulu, Tul, Ellu beeja, Tila Bija, Rasshi, Rasi, etc. It is an important oilseed crop with an oil content of 40 – 50 %. Sesame seeds are also used as a seasoning in cooking and to make certain sweets.
In India, it is produced in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Till is grown as a summer crop, Kharif season crop and semi-Rabi crop. The sesame seeds or its powder or oil are used in various Indian dishes as a flavoring agent. Sesame seeds are tiny, flat and oval with a nutty flavor. They come in red, white, yellow and black colors. Sesame is a good source of protein and prevents diabetes and lowers cholesterol. It is good for digestion and alleviates anemia. It protects the liver from the adverse effects of alcohol. It prevents wrinkles and osteoporosis.
Some commercial and hybrid varieties of sesame are CO-1, TMV-3, TMV-4, TMV-5, TMV-6, TMV-7, VRI(SV)-1, VRI(SV)-2, SVPR-1, Gauri, Madhavi, YLM-11, YLM-17, Chandana ICS-94, Varada, Usha, Rajeswari, Swetha, Pratap, RT-125, Mrug-1, TG-22, T-12, T-78, Krishna, Soma, Rama, etc. Sesame is a flowering plant and cultivated mainly for the seeds that come in pods. It grows well in tropical regions. It is tolerant to drought, unlike other crops. Sesame has the maximum content of oil in its genre of oilseed crops. Sesame is an annual plant and grows up to a height of 3 feet.
Sesame has opposite leaves 4 to 14 cm long with an entire margin. They are broad lanceolate, to 5 cm (2 in) broad, at the base of the plant, narrowing to just 1 cm broad on the flowering stem. The flowers are yellow, tubular, 3 to 5 cm long, with a four-lobed mouth. The flowers vary in color from white, blue, or purple. Sesame seeds occur in many colors depending on the cultivar. The most-traded variety of sesame is off-white colored. Other common colors are buff, tan, gold, brown, reddish, gray, and black.
Sesame fruit is a capsule, normally pubescent, rectangular in section, and typically grooved with a short, triangular beak. The length of the fruit capsule varies from 2 to 8 cm, its width varies between 0.5 and 2 cm, and the number of loculi varies from four to 12. The fruit naturally splits open to release the seeds by splitting along the septa from top to bottom. Some popular dishes from till are till ke laddo, till chicken, till ki barfi, Rewei, Gachak, till ki chikki, prawn sesame toast, candied sweet potatoes with black sesame, Asian sesame chicken salad, Spinach salad with sesame dressing, sesame seed pulao, sesame apple salad, etc.
In Ayurveda, sesame oil is used as a medicine. They are loaded with antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. Sesame oil is used in cooking many dishes. It is a tropical or sub-tropical crop grown in semi-arid or arid areas. It requires hot conditions for optimal growth and development.
Image source – agritech.tnau.ac.in
Black sesame seeds
Image source – ayurtimes.com
Off-white sesame seeds
Image source – krishnaindia.in
Sesame is grown as a Kharif, semi-Rabi or summer season crop.
It is a tropical or sub-tropical crop grown in arid or semi-arid regions. It can be grown up to 1500 m above sea level. It requires fairly hot conditions during growth for optimum yield. The ideal temperature is 25 – 30 °C. Sesame is a short day plant. It can withstand drought, unlike other crops. Sesame does not tolerate frost.
It can withstand high water stress. It requires an annual rainfall of 60 – 100 cm for good growth.
Seed Rate –
In the broadcasting method, under rainfed conditions, the seed rate is 6 kg/ha and under irrigated conditions, it is 5 kg/ha.
In row seeding under rainfed conditions, seed rate is 5 kg/ha and under irrigated conditions, it is 4 kg/ha.
As an intercrop, the seed rate is 1 kg/ha
Treat the seeds with Thiram 3g/kg of seeds to prevent seed-borne diseases. Soak the seeds in Agrimycin -100 about 0.03% for about half an hour to prevent leaf spot.
Sesame can be sown in the line or broadcasting methods. Line method is the better option. Mix the seeds with dry sand and spread along the furrows for even distribution. Seeds are sown at a depth of 3 cm. Row-row spacing is 25 – 35 cm and plant-plant spacing is 10 – 20 cm.
Soil type –
Sesame can easily be grown on neutral to slightly acidic soils with a pH of 5.5 – 8. Light well-drained loamy soils are best for the cultivation of sesame.
Fertilizer application –
Spread FYM or composted coir pith or compost @ 12.5 t/ha evenly on the un-plowed field and plow it in. If soil tests are not available, follow the blanket recommendations. Rainfed: Apply 23:13:13 kg NPK/ha or 17:13:13 kg NPK/ ha + 3 packets of Azospirillum (600 g/ha) and 3 packets (600 g/ha) of Phosphobacteria or 6 packets of Azophos (1200 g/ha). Irrigated: Apply 35:23:23 kg NPK/ha or 21:23:23 kg NPK/ha + 3 packets of Azospirillum (600 g/ha) and 3 packets (600 g/ha) of Phosphobacteria or 6 packets of Azophos (1200 g/ha).
Apply full dose of N, P and K basally. Add 5 kg of Manganese sulfate per hectare. Apply 50% of the recommended P 2O 5and K 2O with a full recommended dose of N to irrigated gingili raised after groundnut fertilized with 100% of recommended NPK. Open furrows to a depth of 5 cm and 30 cm apart and place the fertilizer mixture along with the furrows and cover to a depth of 3 cm with soil before sowing.
Land preparation –
The land is prepared by tractor or desi country plow and harrowed repeatedly to get fine tilth. Make the soil weed free before starting. Plough the field with tractor twice or with mold-board plow thrice or five times with a country plow. Chisel the soil at shallow depth with chisel plow first at 0.5 m interval in one direction and then in the direction perpendicular to the previous one once in three years. Apply 12.5t FYM/composted coir pith. For irrigated sesame, form beds of size 10 m² – 20 m² depending upon the availability of water and slope of the land. Level the beds perfectly without any depressions to prevent water stagnation, which will affect the germination adversely.
Irrigate at sowing and give life irrigation 7 days after sowing depending on the soil and climatic condition and allow excess water to percolate. Provide pre-flowering irrigation in 25 days and one at flowering and one or two at pod-setting. Irrigation during flowering period is critical.
Weed management –
Apply, PE application of Pendimethalin 3.3 l/ha followed by me, hand weeding on 25th DAS
For irrigated sesame, apply PE alachlor @ 1.5 kg (or) Metolachlor @ 1.0 kg ha-1 followed by one hand weeding on 25th DAS
Leaf Webber is controlled by spraying neem oil 2% two rounds or neem seed kernel extracts
Aphids are controlled by spraying Imidacloprid 5g/kg seeds
Leafhopper is controlled by spraying Methyl demeton 25% EC 1200 ml/ha
Bacterial blight can be managed by crop rotation and use resistant varieties
Powdery mildew can be controlled by dusting with sulfur
For further issues, please contact your local horticulturist
Harvesting is done when the stem turns yellow and before the bottom capsules turn brown. Examine the 10th capsule from the bottom by the opening. If the seeds attained the full color of the variety harvest may be taken up. Pull out the plants from the bottom. Stack in the open, one over the other in a circle with the stems pointing out and the top portion pointing inside. Cover the top with straw, so that humidity and temperature increases. Cure like this for 3 days, shake the plants. About 75 % of the seeds will fall off. Dry the plants for one more day and again shake the plants. All the mature seeds will fall off. Winnow the seeds and dry in the sun for 3 days. Stir once in 3 hours to give uniform drying. Collect the seeds and store in gunnies.
The yield depends on the cultivation methods and climatic conditions. Usually, the yield is around 300 – 600 kg/ha for semi-Rabi crop and summer crop and 200 – 500 for Kharif crop.
Benefits of sesame –
Sesame is a good source of protein and helps in preventing diabetes
It helps reduce blood pressure and lowers the cholesterol levels
It is good for digestion and alleviates anemia
It protects the liver from the hazards of alcohol consumption
It prevents wrinkles and helps in bone health and also prevents osteoporosis
It protects the heart and balances the hormones in our body
It is found to be a super-food during pregnancy and winter months
It is useful in fighting breast cancer
Sesame helps burn fat and is therefore good for weight watchers
It is a good source of vitamins and minerals
Sesame boosts nutrient absorption in the body
Nutritional value of sesame per 100 gm –
As per Wikipedia
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 50 g 76%
Saturated fat 7 g 35%
Polyunsaturated fat 22 g
Monounsaturated fat 19 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 11 mg 0%
Potassium 468 mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 23 g 7%
Dietary fiber 12 g 48%
Sugar 0.3 g
Protein 18 g 36%
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 97% Iron 81%
Vitamin D 0% Vitamin B-6 40%
Vitamin B-12 0% Magnesium 87%