Such varieties include landrace varieties, synthetic varieties made from inbred parents, and varieties resulting from recurrent selection, including mass selection.
A variety, therefore, is a narrow-based breeding population exhibiting a range of variability that needs to be protected against contamination by pollen of external origin during seed multiplication.
Millet needs well-prepared land, but as it is the first crop of the season, most farmers sow it directly after the first rain or sometimes even before rain, without preparing the land. For seed production, the land should be prepared well at the onset of rain with ridges 75 to 100 cm apart.
Millet does well in a wide variety of soil types but the best performance is achieved in a sandy loam, well-drained soil, rich in organic matter.
There are two major groups of recommended and local varieties available for planting, Gero and Maiwa. Gero varieties include the improved recommended variety SOSAT Ex-Borno as well as the dwarf Nigeria composites that include varieties recommended for most millet producing areas. Maiwa varieties include SAMIL 1–7 (see Annex 2).
Use recommended seed dressing chemicals to dress the seeds. Shake the seeds with the powder in a closed container or gourd thoroughly for about 3 min or until the seeds are completely covered. Allow the seed dressing to settle before opening the container. As a safety precaution, bury the empty seed-dressing container completely and wash your hands thoroughly after planting or handling dressed seeds.
Spacing and seeding rate:
Plant 6–8 seeds/hill at an interrow spacing of 75 cm and thin to 2–3 plants/stand after a rain to avoid excess seedling competition. Maintain a plant population of 50,000/ha. For seed production, a close spacing of 25–30 cm is advisable to avoid excessive tillering.
Time of planting:
To get proper plant establishment, it is important to plant at the beginning of the early rains.
Fertilizer and manure:
Apply 5–8 t/ha of farmyard manure or compost (if available) in old furrows before splitting the ridges. However, when planting is done in the old furrows, apply the manure in a ring around each stand at planting or soon after germination and ridge up later. It is less laborious to apply the manure in between the stands before ridging up if the latter planting method is adopted.
Application of 60 kg N/ha, 30 kg P2O5/ha, and 30 kg K2O/ha is recommended for millet producing areas. The recommended nutrient rates could be supplied by a combination of inorganic fertilizers that contain these nutrients. When NPK is to be used, a split application method should be adopted, i.e., about 4 bags of NPK at planting and urea top dressing between weeks 4 and 6 after planting.
Regular weeding and earthing up are necessary to minimize weed competition.
Application of recommended herbicides has been found to provide effective weed control. Spraying about 4 L/ha of Gardroprim ‘A’ is recommended for preemergence application at planting or at about 2 days after planting.
Stem borers can cause severe damage in some seasons, particularly to long season or late millet. Early planting will make attack less likely. Destroying cereal crop residues by burning or composting will help to reduce the buildup of stem borers. Bird damage can be particularly severe on millet and the employment of bird deterrents may be necessary. The production of hairy composite varieties may help to minimize bird damage.
Harvesting and threshing:
Harvesting should be done when the grain is thin or hard and during any suitable dry period. The heads usually require further drying after being removed from the field. Thresh on clean slabs to avoid contamination.
Millet to be kept for 6 months or longer should be treated with phostoxin to protect it against storage pests. Follow the instructions for the safe use of agrochemicals. The millet seeds should be bagged and well labeled and kept under shade in a protected building.