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close this bookBetter Farming Series 15 - Cereals (FAO - INADES, 1977, 51 p.)
close this folderSorghum and millet
close this folderMillet
close this folderHow to grow sorghum and millet
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentGrowing sorghum in the dry season
View the documentSorghum for animal feeding


· Sorghum and millet have fibrous roots.

How to grow sorghum and millet

To be well nourished and resist dryness, sorghum and millet need well- developed roots.

The roots of sorghum and millet are thin. They are not strong enough to penetrate hard earth, soil that is much compacted, and clods. They must have fine, well- loosened soil, without clods.

After tilling, break up the clods with a harrow or large branches drawn by an animal.

If the soil is not deep, make little mounds or ridges.

· The place of sorghum in crop rotation

It is best to sow sorghum after growing another crop such as groundnuts or cotton.

If sorghum is grown after groundnuts or cotton, it will use the remainder of the mineral salts added for these industrial crops.


Selected your seed.

You can keep the seed from the best spikes of your own harvest. Dry them, sort them and store them well, protect them against insects and diseases.

You can also buy seed of improved varieties from research stations.

Some varieties are harvested about 100 days after sowing. These varieties are sown in regions where the rainy season is short.

Other varieties are harvested 150 to 190 days after sowing. These varieties are sown in regions where the rainy season is longer.
Sow at the beginning of the rainy season. Sow in rows, and leave 80 to 100 centimetres between rows. Put 4 to 10 seeds in each seed hole, and leave 40 to 60 centimetres between seed holes. Push the seed 2 centimetres into the soil.


Weed the field two weeks after sowing.

In seed holes where the seeds have not grown, new seed can be sown, or seedlings can be transplanted. Take them from seed holes where all the seeds have grown.

In seed holes where all the seeds have grown, take out the smallest seedlings. It is better to have fewer but finer plants with bigger spikes. Then there will be more grain.

When the plants are 50 centimetres high, weed again.

At the same time, earth up the plants. After earthing up, new roots will grow.


When the grain is ripe, do not wait too long before harvesting sorghum and millet. If you wait too long, birds may eat a lot of the grain.

After harvesting, you can thresh the spikes and store the sorghum and millet grain. But you can also store the spikes with the grain in them.

Supplementary Note