Japanese millet (Echinochloa frumentaceae) is a grass crop that used for human, livestock and wildlife food. It is one of the fastest growing types of millet and is adaptable to wet or dry areas. Wildlife watchers and duck hunters like millet because it draws in feeding animals late in the summer season. Home gardeners plant it in wild gardens or along the edges of managed wetlands to prevent soil erosion while attracting animals.
Things You'll Need
- Japanese Millet Seeds
Drain the water and let the soil dry for a few weeks if you are planting on a flooded wetland area.
Till or plow out your field so the soil is even and fluffy. Break up any dirt clumps and remove stones and debris. If you need to boost nutrients, incorporate amendments such as a high-nitrogen fertilizer or composted manure into the soil, mixing it in while tilling. The soil acidity should be a pH of 5.5 to 7.5.
Rake the area flat to get rid of large humps and pits. For large areas, use heavier equipment, such as a cultipacker pulled by a yard tractor.
Broadcast the Japanese millet seed evenly by hand over the plowed soil. Use an automatic broadcaster or grain driller for large fields. Spread it at a rate of about 25 to 30 lbs. of seed per acre. The best time to seed is in summer when the soil temperature is above 65 degrees.
Cover the Japanese millet seeds loosely with about 1 to 2 inches of soil. Use the rake on small patches or a cultipacker or corrugated roller pulled by a yard tractor. The seeds should germinate quickly and do not need water if the soil is slightly moist.
Flood the planting field when the Japanese millet plants have reached over 6 inches tall if you are planting a wetland area. Be sure the leaves are above the water level. The millet matures 45 to 60 days after seeding.
Tips & Warnings
- Use more seeds if you are hand broadcasting -- about 5 lbs. per acre less if you are using an automated seeder.
- Japanese millet grows in poor heavy soils. Fertilizer usually isn't needed unless you are engaging in intensive farming or have poor soil.
- Japanese millet does not need to grow in wet ground; it does fine in drier areas.
- Japanese millet does not compete well with weeds, which can rob nutrients from the plant. Till the soil just after the regular weeds have begun to germinate to eliminate the competition. This time usually coincides with the optimal soil temperatures for millet germination.
- Iowa State University Extension; Millets, Forage Management; Brian Lang; June 2001
- "Alternative Field Crops Manual"; E.A. Oelke et al; May 1990
- New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service; Millet Production; R.D. Baker; February 2003
- Montana State University Extension AgNotes; Agronomics of Japanese Millet; Linzy Carlson, et al.; 1999
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