• International Year of Millets (IYoM) : 2023


Sorghum is an important tropical cereal food, feed and fodder crop.
It is an important grain and forage crop of semiarid regions due to its high adaptability and suitability to rain-fed low input agriculture. It is one of the most widely grown dry land food grain in India.

Climate and soil: Sorghum is a warm temperate and tropical cereal. It is grown from sea level to as high as 1500 metres. The kharif sorghum areas extend from 90 N to 250 N latitudes while the rabi confines to the narrow belt of 140 N to 210 N latitudes.

Varieties

Land Preparation: The first ploughing should be done with soil turning plough so that 20-25 centimetre deep soil may become loose. It should be followed by two to three harrowing or three to four intercrossing ploughings with country plough. Proper tillage reduces weeds by killing the germination seedlings and burying deep the weed seeds.

Sowing Time:
Kharif - June to July
Rabi - September to October
Summer - January to February

Method of Sowing: Broadcasting and line sowing.

Spacing: Row to row 45 cm, plant to plant 10-12 cm and depth 3-4 cm.

Seed rate: 12-15 kg/ha

Seed treatment: Thiram, agrosan should be used @ 3 g/kg of seed to control seed borne diseases.

Manures and fertilisers: The field should be manured with 10 to 15 tonnes FYM to meet requirement of secondary and micro nutrients. Basal application of 100-120 kg nitrogen, 50 kg P2O5 and 40 kg K2O per hectare for hybrid and improved varieties of sorghum under irrigation condition. Half dose of nitrogen and total amount of phosphorus and potash should be applied at the time of sowing. The remaining half quantity of nitrogen should be top dressed after 30-35 days after sowing. In case of rainfed crop, quantity of fertilizer should be reduced to half of the irrigated condition.

Water management: Usually, sorghum is grown as a rainfed crop. Three essential irrigations at vegetative stage, flowering stage and grain filling stage require more water.

Important weeds: Sorghum is a warm season crop and is planted under condition that also favours germination and growth of weeds. Sorghum is infested with Banchari (Sorghum halepanse), Sawan (Echinochloa crusgulli), Makra (Dactelocenium aegyptium), Anjan grass (Echinochloa colonum), Doob (Cynodon dactylon), Motha (Cyperus rotundus) and Bandrabandri (Setaria glauca).

Weed Control: Summer ploughing for destroying stubbles and perennial weeds. Timely sowing of crop to minimize crop weed competition. Proper spacing to facilitate inter weeding operation. Keep the field free from weeds. Cultural methods such as planting time, planting geometry, inter-cropping, crop rotation, inter-cultivation etc. are traditional and very useful in managing the weeds. Pre-emergence application of atrazine at the rate of 0.5- 1.0 kg active ingredient per hectare has been found highly selective for sorghum.

Disease management

The three major diseases affecting sorghum:-

Grain mold: Molds occurs when flowering coincides with rainfall. The grains turn black, white or pink in color.

Control: Grow resistant cultivars. Spray ear-heads with Aurefungin 200 PPM + 0.2 % Captan three times from flowering at 10 days interval or Dithane M 45 – 0.2 % + Bavistin 0.2 % twice at 10 days interval after commencement of flowering.

Charcoal rot: Charcoal rot is the significant rabi sorghum disease, which is serious in the shallow soils in dry areas of Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Control: Grow resistant cultivars; apply minimum dose of nitrogenous fertilizers with low plant density in infected soils; adopt inter-cropping rather than sole cropping; resort to moisture conservation practices like mulching with wheat straw; and soil treatment with Thiram @ 4.5 kg/ha at the time of sowing.

Downy mildew-On the young leaves downy whitish growth, mostly on the lower surface with yellowing on the corresponding upper surface is seen.

Control: Spraying with Metalaxyl (Radomil) 0.1% solution; Thiram, agrosan should be used @ 3 g/kg of seed and growing resistant varities like CSV-3, CSV-4, CSV-5.

Insect-pests management:

Shoot fly and stem borer are the major insect pests.

Shoot fly (Atherigona soccata): Planting with the onset of monsoon in Kharif and between September end to first week of October is ideal to escape from shoot fly. Another important practice is to increase seed rate and destroy the dead heart seedlings after removal. Furrow application of Carbofuran 3G @ 2 grams per row or spray Cypermethrin 10 EC @ 0.02% coinciding with Shoot fly oviposition (7-14 days after germination) only for late sown crop.

Stem Borer (Chilo partellus):Destroy thrashed sorghum ear heads before the onset of monsoon; use high seed rate and thin out the infected plants after 10-12 days of sowing, apply Endosulfan 4G/Carbonfurn 2 gm @ 8- 10 kg/ha. in plant rows at 20th and 35th days after germination.

Hairy caterpillar- Egg masses should be collected and destroyed; Spray the crop with Endosulfan 35 EC@ 1 litre in 600 litre water/ha.

Harvesting Time: Most of the high yielding sorghum hybrids and varieties take about 100-115 days to mature. The right stage for harvest is when grains have become hard having less than 25 per cent moisture. Harvesting is done during September to October.

Yield: With improve cultural practices it is possible to harvest under Irrigated condition, Grain-50 qtl/ha, Fodder-100-125 qtl/ha under Rainfed condition, Grain-25-30 qtl/ha, Fodder-80-100 qtl/ha.