Hybrid Pearl Millet
Hybrid Pearl millet (85-98 days from seed to harvest)
1 ounce ~4,500 seeds
Pearl millet was domesticated as a food crop in the tropical region of West Africa at least 4000 years ago. It's a warm season annual grass crop that is best known here in the U.S. for forage and grain crop. It is one of the most drought resistant grains in grain production today. It is well suited for double cropping behind small grains and vegetables.
Most pearl millet is used in chicken and wildbird feed, but a recent trend has seen it in many health food stores. Pearl millet is also being used to feed poultry, ducks, cows, hogs and even catfish. The reason is it has 8 to 60% higher protein levels and 40% higher lysine than feed corn.
Pearl millet grown for grain has a similar growth habit to sorghum. The typical height is 5-10'. It yields best on fertile well drained soil. Best planted in late spring or early summer when temperatures rise. Soil tempreture MUST be above 65 degrees, but germinates best at 75 degrees and higher. Root devolopment is quick. Being from Africa it has the abilty to survive on less water than corn and still produce a viable crop. Tolerant of sandy acidic soils.
Seeding rate is recommended at 4 pounds per acre. An exact seeding rate is not critical, because pearl millet can partially compensate for a poor stand by increasing the number of tillers. Seeding depth should be 1/2 to I inch deep. 30" row widths are typically used. A plant every 3 to 4 inches can give excellent yield results with good management practices. Good weed control is necessary for a successful crop, and it is particularly important to control early emerging weeds.
"Organic production. Pearl millet is a crop that should need little in the way of pesticide use, and can be grown effectively with organic methods for the organic livestock feed market, which pays a premium for feed materials in many areas. Using cover crops or manure to boost fertility, employing cultural and mechanical weed control, and incorporating crop rotation can allow successful organic production of this crop." Purdue Univ.
An all-crop or small grain combine header is appropriate for harvesting pearl millet.